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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trots are Everywhere

(Thanks to Group Friend and W+M Alum Brian Mount for the photo!)

My family is off to the York Turkey Trot.  This year they will have more than 4,000 (4,126 to be exact.)  runners in downtown York, a place where other races are lucky to get a couple hundred.  There is something about running on Thanksgiving morning that appeals to people who normally don't think about running at all. I'll be on the treadmill again while they are out there (to the chagrin of noted New England Physicists!) keeping The Streak alive.  I have been retired from all racing since 1997, at least!  (There will be more on The Streak in the next 2 weeks.)

My finest run ever was at a Turkey Trot in Millersville in 1976.  This was a 10-miler and at the 5 mile mark I felt better than I ever had (and I suppose since!) so I picked up the pace appreciably.  I finished behind 3 others just ahead of me. 51:11 barely edges out my best 10K at PSU, where I was lapped twice by my idol Greg Fredericks.  I couldn't quite catch them in 1976 either , although I was gaining.  It turned out great anyway when I won a turkey afterward.

Other great Thanksgiving Day events are held just about everywhere.  None is better than the Run for the Diamonds in Berwick PA.  Past winners include Hannes Kolehmainen and Jim Thorpe.  Many PSU Track Alumni Golfers have won diamonds at the event.  Are you one of them?  Let us know in the comments.

Greg also shows up on the greatest Berwick Marathon of all-time! It was a duel with Pete Pfitzinger.  Greg ended up in 2nd, but it was the second fastest ever finish at the event.

  Pfitz vs. Fredericks: In Berwick’s version of Smokin’ Joe Frazier vs. Ali, the 1980 Berwick race attracted former Penn State star Greg Fredericks who had once set an American record for 10,000 meters and up-and-coming Cornell grad Pete Pfitzinger. Pfitzinger (who went on to represent the U.S. in two Olympic marathons) hammered the climb to Summer Hill (a 5:36 mile from two to three!), with Fredericks attempting to stay close. “I made a move just when a helicopter was close overhead and I could not hear Greg,” Pfitzinger remembers. “But I just kept pushing as hard as I could…” Pfitzinger’s incredible time of 43 minutes, 21 seconds was the end result. It is still the course record, with Fredericks’s 43:41 holding steady as the second-best Berwick blast in history.

And let's not forget PSU Track Alumni Great Horace Ashenfelter III's Thanksgiving Day 8K Classic in Glen Ridge NJ. Anyone ever run this one too?

Addendum: Kara Milhouse won a diamond today in Berwick! (Next step: Get her to golf with us!)


Here's another one!



  1. Only earned a desk clock for 14th in 1984 - no diamonds for me.

  2. Is it top 9 for the diamonds? Do you still have the desk clock?

  3. I got 8th in '80 and that garnered a watch. Perhaps top 5 got the diamonds? LTM

  4. First through 7th get diamonds! You missed it by 1 Larry. Bummer there, dude.

  5. The greatest runner in Berwick history was the late Browning Ross. Browning won Berwick 10, that's right, I said 10 times. This in an era where the country's best runners all ran Berwick.

    Browning was Jumbo Elliot's 1st Olympian, recruited Ron Delaney to Villanova, & thus started their Irish tradition.

    Browning was the most humble man I have ever met, a truly great person.

  6. A worthy counterpart to Greg therefore.

  7. Our Nittany Valley Track Club contingent wearing our distinctive faded yellow shirts with PSU blue shorts (self-named in defiance The N.V. Douche Bag Track Club) won the team championship in '77 I believe. Breaking a very long run of victories by Canadian teams. The four of us I recall for certain are Ray Krombel, Brian Boyer, Jim Clelland, and moi (Kevin Kelly O'Brien). Our trophy was greeted in Rec Hall with less than enthusiastic embrace.

    I have a 110 Instamatic pic of us somewhere; maybe I'll find it in time for next year's TG run special. KKOB

  8. Hey Kelly, you forgot me (Frit) on the NVTC team in '77. My log says I ran 48:40 and was 25th. I ran better the following year 46:50 and was 14th. I know I got a diamond either for the team title or 14th

  9. Sorry, Frit.
    I was thinking you were also in the pic of us being so 70s, but I wasn't sure. Haven't seen pic in over 20 years. I hope I still have it and the fire did not eat it up. Sorry again. Good seeing you and Linda at reunion.


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