Thousands Tackle Chilly 8th Annual Up & At ‘Em Turkey Trot

Mary Ellen Miller, center with Jenny Brock, right and MarketingMel intern Emma Brock (no relation.)

Mary Ellen Miller, center with Jenny Brock, right and MarketingMel intern Emma Brock (no relation) and Cooper.

By East Tennessee standards, last Thursday was a frigid morning! Nonethless, thousands of Johnson City runners, walkers and wheel chair racers as well as people with dogs and strollers ran, walked and wheeled through downtown Johnson City early Thanksgiving morning, November 28th in what was the coldest Turkey Trot 5K to date. Temperatures hovered around the 18-degree mark but the atmosphere was festive as families and friends, many in costumes, gathered around the Legion Street starting line along with the more serious runners in preparation for the 8:30 AM start.

“The success and growth of Turkey Trot continues because of the people who support it,” said Race co-chair and co-founder Jenny Brock. “I would like to thank our community for their continued loyalty and the vitality they bring to Turkey Trot.”

Tanner Cook of Abingdon won the race in a time of 16:25.2 while Lanni Marchant of Nashville was the first-place female finisher in a record time of 17:10.1. Fain Grogg won the wheel chair division.

Jenny said about 3,700 people showed up, despite the frigid temperatures, to take part in the pre-Thanksgiving calorie burn.  In addition more than 200 volunteers came out to man the course and help out at the race.

“The loyalty of our sponsors is really incredible,” added Jenny. “We’ve gotten tremendous feedback from them and from the families who take part in this each year and tell us what it means to them.”

This year Blue Lizard, the flagship product of Crown Laboratories, stepped up as the headline sponsor of the event, inserting Blue Lizard sunscreen samples into each of the thousands of race packets.  Panera Bread was also a lead sponsor and runners were lined up after the race for some Panera Bread hot coffee and bagels.

“We were really honored to participate again and inspired by all who showed up Thanksgiving morning,” said Crown Laboratories Founder & CEO Jeff Bedard. “Health and wellness and taking control of your own health is part of Crown’s philosophy with regards to employees and employee health so this event is a great fit for us.”

Jenny also thanked the other event sponsors and said sponsor logos, race results and many great race photos are available at

Jenny said Congressman Phil Roe, who has never missed a Turkey Trot and always leads the crowd in the pledge of allegiance, “challenged us to think about ‘10 for 10.’“

‘”In two years it will be the 10th Annual Turkey Trot.  Let’s have 10,000 participants,” said Roe.  Jenny adds, “That’s a big challenge, but I think we can do that.  I guess our battle cry going forward is now ‘10 for 10’.  Thanks Congressman Roe!”

Proceeds from the race will be given to the Tweetsie Trail development.  Runners and walkers trotted past the future trail site as they rounded into the home stretch. Jenny said the physical fitness aspect of the Trail is a natural tie-in to the Turkey Trot.

“We’re already looking forward to next year,” she said.

Note: For the third year in a row, MarketingMel was an event sponsor and assisted in spreading the word for the 5K. MarketingMel coordinates the Turkey Trot’s pre-event, event day and post-event public relations including media interface and race packet flyers. In addition we assisted Jenny Brock and her team with social media and sponsor line up. 



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