Beginners training group will prepare you to run Turkey Trot – Tallahassee Democrat

Beginners training group will prepare you to run Turkey Trot  Tallahassee Democrat



The Tallahassee Turkey Trot is just around the corner.  Last year was a good step away from the cancellation caused by COVID-19 in 2020, but we want to see more this year.

Once again, the race will feature four distances – “The Turkey Gobbler 1-Mile Race,” the “I have to get home fast and cook 5K,” the “I have things under control 10K,” and the “Isn’t Thanksgiving Day Made for Running 15K.”  

The Tallahassee Turkey Trot is a production of the Gulf Winds Track Club (GWTC), a nonprofit organization, that seeks to encourage fitness and good health primarily by organizing running and fitness events.

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Despite the fact that almost 4,000 runners and walkers crossed the finish line last year, many of you are not running because you are intimidated or do not feel you are capable of completing the race. I would urge you to rethink those ideas. I know just the right people to get you over that fear. 

Elizabeth Kamerick and Brandy Fortune are leading the GWTC’s Beginning Running Program, and they have selected the 2022 Turkey Trot as their goal race. I had the chance to talk recently with Elizabeth.

1. What is the beginning running class? 

The beginning running group is a Couch to 5K program run by volunteers of the Gulf Winds Track Club. It is perfect for people looking to start running, come back to running, or train with a group. We start with 1 mile and build distance over 8 weeks. We have pace groups for continuous runners from 8 to 12 minutes/mile. We also have run-walk groups for those looking for an easier group.  We will have one that starts at 60/30 run-walk intervals and builds to longer periods of running and one group that will stay at 30/30 intervals for the entire distance.

2. What do you hope to teach?

We hope to teach people that running is fun and has a fantastic community ready to support new runners.

3. What level of training do you expect someone to have before coming to the class? 

No running experience is needed.  Anyone who can walk one mile can start with the group as we build up to the 5k.

4. How do you keep up with runners of different abilities and speeds?

We have multiple volunteers who will be leading the pace groups each week. Each leader will maintain a specified pace of either continuous running or alternating running and walking. People can move between groups as they find the right level for themselves.

5.  Why is Turkey Trot the goal race?

We chose the Turkey Trot as the goal race as it is one of the biggest and best races for family and friends to do together. Running can be a great group activity and doesn’t have to be about speed or distance. Having fun and being healthy is our ultimate goal.

6. How long have you been a part of this group?

I started with the beginning running group in 2010. I had never run any distance before then and the program helped me find an amazing group of friends. I’ve been volunteering with the group for several years and took over as co-coordinator with Brandy Fortune last year.

7. What would you tell the typical “couch potato“ who said they are not good enough to run in the group?

I would tell anyone sitting on the couch doubting themselves to give it a try!  Your fears are you worst enemy.  If you are doubting yourself, let me know – I will believe in you for you.

8.  What are your goals for the class for this year?

Our goals are simple – help people learn to love running and help them make friends in the running community!

There is no better way to do that then training for Turkey Trot. You can reach Elizabeth and Brandy at gwtc_coaches@yahoo.com. 


David Yon is addicted to running. In his spare time, he is an attorney with the Radey Law Firm.

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