The last pickup point before the Turkey Trot, this Kick-Off Party was held at Jack White Stadium, Clearwater High School. It's also the location of the finish line & Post Race Party! I had figured I would bypass this and do an earlier pick up. Missed that door of opportunity but Plan B turned out to be a great opportunity!
The infield was covered with activity! Live music entertainment, complementary food including hot soft pretzels, chicken wings and legs, hot dogs, pizza, and kettle corn, along with run gear vendors added to a party atmosphere!
You can see the crews working on the finish line to the left!
Got to the Party at exactly 5:00pm, did my pickup and decided to take the opportunity to take some photos!
I remember 2 years ago, standing in front of this balloon at around 210 pounds!
Last minute registration for all Turkey Trot races!
I hit will call, got our bibs, then went straight to score at shirt pickup!
Had to share what the 2012 shirt looked like so I asked a volunteer to hold one up for y'all...seriously!
So, besides doing pickup, I had been trading emails with LIGHTNINGRUNNER (Mary)! She said she was going to be at this event so it was an opportunity I couldn't miss! We traded texts and she said she had arrived. I figured I would go close to registration and see if I could find the "black Adidas jacket!" I did and, as I had just seen a pic of her at the St Pete RocknRoll HM, spotted her immediately. I got to meet her daughter, husband, and several running friends! We spent a good hour talking about everything under the setting sun! I found out that she lived close to me in Clearwater. We also talked about local races, good Halfs to do, and injuries! I got some great input from Mary's husband on Triathlons too! Overall, it was well worth the effort to meet. Needless to say, and despite the fact that Mary's not overjoyed to do photo ops, friends got her to pose with me for this "official" recording!
What a fun night. I won't be surprised if I don't see her tomorrow! Today's Tampa Bay Times estimated that over 15,000 of my closest friends will be here in the morning to celebrate Thanksgiving Day! This is definitely OUR Thanksgiving Tradition now!