The UMF FRC Turkey Trot is always guaranteed to bring together the Farmington running community. It's also the perfect community event, especially the 5k division, for welcoming new runners into the fold.

The Turkey Trot offers several race details that make the race friendly and accessible. The race director will either know your name or learn it by the end of the event. There's a mini-race for kids. Athletes from UMF teams will be out on course at every intersection looking out for you. The race tees are always well-fitting and soft. And most importantly, for some runners, childcare is included in your race fee. Childcare!

The biggest race challenge is the same challenge as any run here in the western Maine: hills. The 5k course offers a flat mile, a half-mile climb, and then a long descent back to the finish. The 10k, however, chases that first climb with Bailey Hill, a gain of 250ft in a single mile that is guaranteed to make your butt and lungs burn. 

This year's race saw temperatures in the low 30's and full sun. For me, that's shorts-and-gloves weather. A stiff breeze further guaranteed that nobody was going to overheat, and I'll admit that the wind exposure along a few farm pastures made me question my choice not to wear a windbreaker, but those moments were fleeting, especially on Bailey Hill.

I had a spectacularly fun run. I shared the first couple of miles with Bea Q, but dropped off her pace when we hit Bailey Hill. I fell into pace with Earl E. Leeds, but we were both working too hard to converse much. The Ginger Amazon was cheering on the hill, having come out primarily to support one of the Gemini Amazons, but staying to encourage her running family as the passed by.

Earl and I split up on the crest of Bailey Hill; he enjoys pounding out a downhill and I am better at running moderately and catching back up with him on the flats. We had a lot of fun in the final mile, as I chased down his lead. I nearly had him in the final 200 yards, but he had rocket fuel for breakfast and smoked me in the final stretch, reopening his lead to about 15 seconds.

Because the 10k is kinda brutal, it sees a smaller field of entrants than the 5k. This gives me an age-group advantage that I lack in larger races, and I took home pie, as did Bea Q and Joie de Vivre, whom I would say objectively earned theirs.

A few of us gathered for apr├Ęs run at a local cafe. Soup, camaraderie and a table in the sunshine!

I love the Turkey Trot. It's a lovely day with running family and the kind of race that's friendly because of our community and fun because it's hard.