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Eat and Run -- or Run and Eat?

Thousands jog the Dana Point Turkey Trot before their Thanksgiving meal. Others atone with an after-dinner walk.

November 25, 2005|Jean O. Pasco and Sue Horton | Times Staff Writers

There appeared to be a profoundly simple desire motivating many of the 8,637 runners who pounded the pavement Thanksgiving morning around Dana Point Harbor: Run more, eat more.

"Now we can eat all the turkey and stuffing we want," said Tai James of Long Beach, who was celebrating friend Anjanette Boul 's 33rd birthday at the 10K race.

Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) has made the race a family tradition with husband James and the couple's four children -- all of whom had better times this year than their mom.

"It's a great way to start Thanksgiving: You get a good workout and then have your big meal," she said.

In fact, that seemed to be a common plan as legions of cyclers, hikers and joggers fanned out across Southern California for Thursday workouts.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday December 11, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Lawmaker's husband -- An article in some editions of the Nov. 25 California section gave the first name of the husband of Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel), David Walters, as James.

While some, like the Dana Point crowd, were "earners" who started early, full of energy, determined to clear space for the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie they planned to consume later, others were "burners," a slower bunch with a bellyful of regrets who showed up late hoping to burn off the Thanksgiving meals that had already disappeared from their plates.

Dawn Fairchild and her two sisters, heading to Palisades Park at sunset to atone for their overindulgence, were definitely part of the latter group. "We're disgustingly full," said Fairchild, but "we have dessert ahead of us, so we need to make room."

Robert Offray, who lost everything he owned in the New Orleans flood, was grateful to be with his brother Fred in Pasadena for Thanksgiving, though both admitted to eating too much.

"When we first started walking," Offray said during a late trek around the Rose Bowl, "we wondered if we could do it. We were so full. But we forced ourselves."

And Becky Fisher of La Canada Flintridge described the same after-dinner walk as "the price of what I ate."

At the day's other end in south Orange County, the morning's brilliant sun and sparkling ocean beckoned the biggest turnout in the history of the Dana Point Turkey Trot, California's largest Thanksgiving Day race, second only to one in Dallas with 20,000 runners. Dana Point's 28th annual race this year attracted 1,500 more participants than the one in 2004.

For the last several years, a portion of race proceeds has benefited the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orange County, a program assisting the needy run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The race generated $50,000 for the food bank this year, said Penny Maynard, CEO of the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, the event's sponsor. Awareness that some of the money helps the less fortunate on the national day of thanks is a big draw. "It's such a natural for feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving," she said.

The runners seemed to be having a good time, with several attired in costumes appropriate to the season. The result was a holiday parade of plume-bedecked runners, a gaggle of brown-shirted gobblers -- their bellies appropriately stuffed -- wearing turkey masks and a jogging Santa Claus pulled by six antlered "reindeer."

Caitriona McTague, 16, of Costa Mesa declared her first race "difficult, but, at the same time, very enjoyable" as she completed the 5K or 3.1 miles. "It's a great cause and the money goes to good use," she said.

Kyle Smith, 17, and his sister, Kelly, 15, of Laguna Niguel were among the hundreds of volunteers who helped set up fences and cones, register runners and pass out ice water. Kyle's job was clipping the black quarter-sized chips -- which captured finish times -- off runners' shoes.

"It was cool seeing people when they finished," he said. "A lot of people were doing it for fun with their families."

The race comes with some historical precedent. After a communal meal with English settlers and Native Americans in 1621, Gov. William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony declared Nov. 29, 1623, the first Thanksgiving Day. Lore has it that Chief Massasoit, 90 braves and some 40 Pilgrims celebrated by marching, playing drums -- and running.

Among those celebrating Thursday were the Turkey Trot's winners: 10K top male, Ben Bruce, 23, of San Diego, and top female, Sylvia Mosqueda, 39, of Los Angeles. Winners in the 5K over-40 category were Dan Arsenault, 43, of Santa Ana, and Ceci St. Geme, 42, of Newport Beach, while the 39-or-younger winners were Johann Appell, 28, of Huntington Beach, and Gloria Gomez, 24, of Victorville.

Kevin Smith, 47, of Laguna Niguel said he has participated in the Turkey Trot for the last six years, drawn by the scenery, the good cause and a chance to burn some calories before the afternoon feed.

"It's always worth the trip to the harbor," said Smith, whose children were among the volunteers. "I like seeing the costumes, the dogs, the kids and all the smiles."

And, oh yes, there's one other benefit, he added: "If you do the 10K, you get to eat lots of pie."

Staff writer James Ricci contributed to this report

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