When was the last time you ran a 3-mile race, or a 6-mile race? Those are distances from the old days, superseded by the metric equivalents of 5k (3.1 miles) and 10k (6.2 miles). But every year the City of Kirkwood, Missouri has their annual Kirkwood/Webster Turkey Day Runs on Thanksgiving morning with almost 5,000 runners participating in either a 3-mile or a 6-mile run. I ran it with my family and grandsons a few years ago, and this year our son invited us to celebrate Thanksgiving in St. Louis with his family, rather than go to Tacoma, Washington, which we usually do to be with our daughter, Gretchen VanMiller. This was a special year for the blended VanRosie family (a combination of Van Dyke and Rosenblatt), because our son, Garrett, and his significant other, Kelly, would each have their two boys for Thanksgiving, plus Kelly’s father passed away this summer and she had invited her mother and sister and her husband to join them from Pekin, Illinois so she could be with her family. Also joining us would be Gretchen, and our 15-month old granddaughter, Nola, from Tacoma, Washington.
The day begins with the race in the morning, followed by the annual Kirkwood/Webster high school football game, one of the oldest high school football rivalries in the country, dating to 1898. Followed later by Thanksgiving dinner. So the agenda was set. I was looking forward to running 3-miles instead of the 3.1 miles of a 5k for a change. Gretchen, grandsons Jack and Ben signed up for the 6-mile race, the rest of us signed up for the 3-mile race. Grammy Johna stayed home with Nola, while we ran. Prior to the race I looked up the previous year’s race results for my 70-74 age group, and based 2015’s winning time of 26:29, I figured I had a reasonable chance of running 24 to 25 minutes to win my age group, so I was quite confident of winning my age group.
The three-mile race started first at 7:30, followed by the six-mile at 8:15. The 7:30 start would not have been early, except that Gretchen’s plane arrived from Seattle just before midnight on Wednesday, so we didn’t get to sleep until about 1:30 a.m. after picking her and Nola up at the airport. So, somewhat groggy, we arrived at the race site hoping for the best. The gun went off and the five of us who opted for the shorter distance ran down hill on Argonne Drive, made a few turns and then proceeded home on a slight incline up Lockwood before turning a couple of times to finish on Argonne opposite the start. I had run the hillier 6-mile a few years prior and was grateful for the slight incline on the way to the finish. After pausing for a while to check in with the other members of our clan, I went to check the results. As predicted, I had run between 24 and 25 minutes, with a time of 24:54, but I was surprised to finish in second place in my age group. Another runner had run under 24 minutes, and had beaten me handily. But I was content with second, knowing I couldn’t have run any faster.
I missed seeing Garrett or Kelly finish, but did see Alex and Peter come in together. Alex is a very talented soccer player and runner, but has recently developed back pain, so he and Peter, affectionately dubbed, “brothers by another mother,” had walked the three miles together and finished together. Garrett was just glad to finish; because of knee pain he has been experiencing. Kelly ran a PR for the race and was pleased.
Ben, Jack and Gretchen started the 6-mile race soon after I finished. I expected all three to do well. All of us three milers lined up on the curb near the end of the race to watch them finish. Ben came in first, speeding around the corner on Taylor Street to the finish line on Argonne. He ran an excellent time of 38:35. We continued to watch and saw the first woman runner go by, but then a few minutes later Gretchen came by—the second woman in the race, with a time of 40:53. Next would be Jack. Suddenly he appeared, but he wasn’t just running; he was sprinting with a splendid kick, passing runners on his way to the finish line. I had expected him to come in sooner, but he said he developed a side stitch, and had to stop running for a bit during the middle of the race. Even so he finished 6th in his age group in a time of 44:15.
We later found out that Ben had finished second in his age group, so it was a total of three second place finishes and an overall good day of running and racing for the Van Rosie Miller clan, and a great way to start Thanksgiving.