Before enjoying the turkey and all its trimmings this Thanksgiving, 415 runners and walkers took part in the 5th Annual Millbridge Turkey Trot—a morning tradition that helps kick off the holiday season and draws adults, children and four-legged friends who get a head start on those Thanksgiving calories. This year marks the Turkey Trot’s highest participation since its start, and organizers are betting on increased runners in years to come as Millbridge and all of Waxhaw continues its population boom.
The morning kicked off with Waxhaw’s Finest setting up barricades around the streets of the Millbridge community, keeping cars off the race path. Participants collected their shirts and tags in Millbridge’s Community House and tried to warm up their muscles in the frigid air—the morning’s temperatures reached the upper 30s. Three dozen children lined up at the Start line to begin the festivities. They chased a neighborhood golf cart that led the eager pack on a dash over Millbridge’s iconic covered bridge and back again. Parents, grandparents and neighbors cheered on the tiny trotters as they crossed the Finish line and collected their race ribbons. At 8am, the older race crowd took their turn at start, accompanied by a few babes in strollers and race-ready canines.
Along the 4-mile route that curved through Millbridge’s slightly hilly streets, residents and police officers encouraged the runners, rang cow bells and greeted “Happy Thanksgiving!” Even Santa Claus made an appearance around the half-way point, bellowing his signature “ho-ho-ho” and high-fiving racers. Driveway fire pits tantalized the chilled runners, but all participants kept their sights on the Finish line, where orange juice, bananas, granola bars and tasty Mimosas (for adults) awaited.
“It was pretty cold and it was a hard race, but I’m glad I stuck to it and finished,” says Charli Montalvo, 14. The Cuthbertson High School freshman placed second for women and 11th overall in the event, coming in at 27:36, 40 seconds faster than her pace at last year’s Turkey Trot.
Montalvo was joined by a few other CHS track athletes, including 16-year-old Kaitlyn St. Hilaire, who came in first overall for women at 24:51. “I always love this race and have been running it since it started,” says St. Hilaire. “It was a big surprise to come in second overall! But the best part about the Turkey Trot is seeing your neighbors and friends cheer you on. It’s a very supportive race, with everyone encouraging each other along the way.”