The Seacoast Rotary Turkey Trot was a fun, festive 5K race through the historic waterfront district of downtown Portsmouth, NH. Runners that braved the 25-degree weather and wind gusts were rewarded with a well-organized race event. 2500 runners crossed the finish line on Thanksgiving morning.
Parking/Facilities/Registration: Participants were given the option of picking up their bibs the night before the race. This was a very convenient service that allowed runners to avoid standing in long lines in the cold weather and also allowed race organizers to stem the flow of race day registration headaches. Parking could be found in all of the usual city locations. I ended up parking about ¼ mile from the start area. There were plenty of porta potties, but nowhere to find shelter from the cold either before or after the race. The lack of a warm area for sweaty runners after the race was a sore point for me. Perhaps a tent with walls and a heating source could be considered for next year.
Race Course: The course was challenging, but also geared towards a fast finish. Early in the race there were some tight turns and steep hills, but the last mile was mostly downhill and very fast. This is an easy course to run negative splits. There was a water stop around the 1.5 mile mark. Traffic was very light and police personnel were present at every major intersection and turn.
Refreshments: A large tent near the finish area was stocked with lots of good post race foods: bagels, yogurt, fruit, and chocolate. The most popular item may have been the fresh donuts provided by race sponsor Dunkin Donuts. Hot coffee and hot chocolate were available. An Emergen-c ambassador was handing out free samples of their Immune+ product.
Awards/Results/Swag: T-shirts were given only to those who registered very early. Age group winners walked away with gift certificates provided by race sponsors. Many of the award winners did not claim their awards due to the cold weather and the urgency of the holiday. An ‘award pickup’ may have been more efficient given the circumstances.
Overall Experience: The race was what all that a New England turkey trot should be. The runners were hearty and spirited, and the weather was clear and cold. The course was both challenging and well designed for fast finish times.