One week from Thursday, South Carolina's second largest road race and the 28th largest 5K in U.S., the Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, will draw thousands to downtown Charleston for a Thanksgiving tradition.
But before that event takes place, two others featuring less conventional distances will give runners and walkers a chance to test out their legs.
Run for Thanks
Another long-held run with a Thanksgiving theme, the 28th annual Run for Thanks is a five-mile event in the Berkeley County peninsula hamlet of Pinopolis.
The run, held entirely on land jutting out into Lake Moultrie, will be at 9 a.m. Saturday starting from Trinity Episcopal Church.
A 3-mile health walk will begin at 9:15 a.m. from the same location.
Run for Thanks is organized by the Moncks Corner Kiwanis Club, which always treats participants well. Top finishers win prize money while age group winners get gift certificates.
In the few years I've run it, I make it a point to head over to Pinopolis United Methodist Church afterward, as they hold a homemade soup and sandwich fundraiser.
Participants are urged to bring canned goods, which will be distributed to a local food bank. The cost to run or walk is $25. Proceeds benefit Kiawanis' children programs.
The most unusual race distance among the 50-plus road races belongs to the Healthy Charleston Challenge 2-mile Run & Walk, an event resurrected five years ago by the Medical University of South Carolina Wellness Center in celebration of its anniversary - 24th this year.
The event will be 8 a.m. Saturday at the MUSC Wellness Center, 45 Courtenay Drive.
A two-miler timed five days before Turkey Day, by the way, is a perfect trial to help time-conscious runners pinpoint a pace for the bigger race.
And while the event may seem pricey, $40 for people who are not MUSC students or staff, it includes a one-month free membership. Students and staff can "gift" the membership to a friend or family member.
Early packet pickup and late in-person registration is 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 6:30-7:30 a.m. Saturday.
Turkey Day Run
As for Turkey Day, the registration rush is under way for the Thanksgiving Day tradition.
Chuck Magera of the Charlestowne Road Race Series, who long has provided the Knights of Columbus with registration and finish line services, says that numbers are already up from last year's record-breaking race of 6,052 registrants and 5,554 counted finishers.
According to Magera, registrations as of Tuesday are at 2,314, 600 ahead of last year's year-to-date registration count, as the race enters the final week.
Weather in the final week likely will determine if Turkey Day sets more new records. It has been the only factor stopping the event's upward trend in the past decade.
Online registration ends at 11:55 p.m. Monday. In-person registration will be 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday and 7-8:45 a.m. on race day, Nov. 22.
The fee is $35 until race day, when it goes to $40.
Swamp Fox Paddle
Not everything involves pavement in the coming week.
The dedication of the Swamp Fox 50 Mile Paddle and Camp Trail will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Low Falls Landing and include a paddle through Stump Hole Swamp. Bring your own kayak or canoe.
The aquatic trail winds through lakes Marion and Moultrie, connecting dozens of islands and campsites.
The effort is a collaboration of Santee Cooper, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Berkeley County Soil and Conservation District and Boy Scouts of America.
As the trail opens, the Berkeley County Blueways and the Swamp Fox 50 Mile Trail also are looking for groups to adopt one of the many islands on lakes Marion and Moultrie.
Groups need to commit to cleaning up each site at least four times a year.
Volunteers should contact Archie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
File/staff Marlin, a golden retriever owned by James Island resident Chris Counts, sports some reindeer antlers during a previous Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.×
File/Grace Beahm/staff Ken Wedholm cruises towards the finish during a previous Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.×
File/Grace Beahm/staff Logan Daigle dressed as a pilgrim while Whitney Stanton and her mother, Teresa Stanton, dressed as Indians at a previous Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.×
File/Grace Beahm/staff Taylor Mularkey and fellow elf Atlee Jennings race at a previous Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.×