The Pavilion at City Park was filled with a mix of turkey heads, dogs in ugly Christmas sweaters and exhausted runners chowing down on pieces of pie Saturday as more than 4,000 runners, joggers and walkers participated in the annual Pumpkin Pie 5K and 10K.
Race workers handed out medals to every person and dog who finished, the jingle of metal providing a steady undertone as the emcee delivered inspirational yet obligatorily cheesy comments — “Picking up the paces, smiles on their faces,” he said as a group hustled toward the end line.
Friends, family and strangers high-fived or shook hands as they crossed the finish line. Two friends chatted after finishing the 5K, comparing their runs. Jolin Honas, wearing a hat shaped like roasted turkey, had pushed 6-month-old Logan Honas across the finish line in under 30 minutes. Emily Bischoff has managed to finish in 25 minutes.
The two are members of a mothers running club that had taken on the Pumpkin Pie race. Afterward, the group, which averages about 10 runners, would be heading out for mimosas. But not before grabbing a free slice of pie as an award for finishing. Honas said Saturday’s sunny skies and 50-degree weather was significantly better than running in snow as in years past.
The two were commenting that it’s nice to leave their kids (each has three) with their husbands when a third mother from their running group finished and walked over to see how they did.
“We do this to get away from the kids and husbands,” Jen Welte said. “I hate running.”
As the women talked about the race, a group of teens crossed the line. “Guys, we did it!” one girl said to the others. People were still crossing the finish line for the 5K when the 10K run kicked off.
“We’ve got a pumpkin pie chasing a couple of turkeys,” the emcee said, giving a play by play as the runners took off.
Rosie Aspinwall, 5, sat in Caitlin Bleything’s lap, cheering on her dad, who is Bleything’s fiance. Rosie had run in a kids race and wore a “run, rest, repeat” shirt. When asked whether she liked running, Rosie responded with a firm “no.”
Aghast, Bleything asked the girl what she was saying, noting that she is normally stoked about running and will wear special pants and shirts. Rosie still said no. Both Rosie and her father Billy Aspinwall have low vision. Bleything said that despite Rosie’s current naysaying, both really did enjoy running.
“Running is a really fun thing to do in a safe environment,” she said, adding that Billy Aspinwall will check out the course ahead of time.
As the two waited for Billy Aspinwall to make his way around the course, more joggers and walkers crossed the finish line after finishing the 5K.
“Where’s the pie?” one immediately asked.