On the morning of Thanksgiving Eve last Wednesday, November 27, the Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group arrived at the Exedra as they do every Wednesday, rain or shine. Aware that the following morning the streets would be filled with 2000 or more runners participating in the annual Turkey Trot, a 5K run on Thanksgiving morning.
So, the Walkers decided to trace the route 24 hours in ad- vance, and at their own pace. Before starting off, the group welcomed Pansy, who was in town from Southern California visiting Melba. Due partly to the weather and in part to Thanksgiving being a holiday week for many people, it was a smaller crowd than usual. It was cold with the temperature about 50 degrees. and overcast skies had the potential for rain.
The wind picked up as the walkers started off on Highland Avenue on the Turkey Trot course, so Heidi Shale set a quick pace to warm up the group.
At Wildwood Avenue the group turned left and started the slow climb to Crocker Avenue. The question was raised as to which section of the course would be the most difficult. This portion would be tiring, but it was early in the course, so probably not the most challenging. The group turned right on Crocker and then right on Lafayette Avenue. All along the way they stopped to share histories of homes that they passed. Lafayette merges into LaSalle Avenue, and they followed LaSalle across Crocker.
The rhododendrons that the group enjoyed during the spring were now without flowers, but the azaleas did have some color.
The walkers continued past Indian Road. It was in this area that they came upon a small, white dog on the street alone. Pauline Marx and Mike Henn quickly did some animal rescue work. The friendly little K-9 had a collar with a tag from which Pauline was able to get the owner's phone number and make a call. An appreciative owner soon appeared from a nearby house. The dog was taken back into the home and the walkers continued on LaSalle to Hampton Park at the corner of Hampton Road. After a short uphill, they followed Hampton to Sea View. Turning right they realized that the long, uphill block of Sea View might be the most difficult part of the Turkey Trot. It is long and gradual, but can take a toll on runners' legs.
It was then that the rain finally started. It was a solid rain, but the walkers took it in figurative, not literal stride, and continued to the end, turning left onto Mountain Avenue and Craig Avenue for the last stretch of the race course. Passing a beautiful, historic Victorian on Craig Ave. they were reminded it was once the home of Piedmont's first mayor, Hugh Craig.
The walkers emerged onto Highland Avenue and rather than go one block to the Exedra, continued to follow the route of the Turkey Trot, past City Hall and the tennis courts on Vista Avenue, the left on Hillside past the mid- de school, and their final push on Magnolia to the Turkey Trot finish line.
Their unofficial time was 1-hour, 38 minutes for slightly more than a 3-mile loop. There were no first-place pumpkin pie prizes awarded, but there was much for the walkers to be proud of. Not only did they complete the course in the rain, but they finished 24 hours ahead of those 2200 runners on Thanks- giving morning.