Oyster Bay Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

Name of the raceOyster Bay Turkey Trot 5K

Where: Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY

Date: November 26, 2015

Time: 9:00 am (actual start time 9:15)

Distance: 3.1 miles

Terrain: Fairly flat road race

Entry fee: $25 + fee til Nov 23rd, $35 on race day

Swag: Long-sleeved shirt

Post-race Food: None

Time: 23:54

Performance: Overall: 117/1179; Age (35-39): 3/55

Weather: 46 degrees, 71% humidity

Ben and I had intended to do the Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot, which is a 5-miler in Prospect Park, but we weren’t entirely sure what our Thanksgiving plans would be. This very popular race sold out in October, so Thanksgiving week I needed to find myself another Turkey Trot. Luckily for me, the NYC area is not lacking for turkey trots. I picked the Oyster Bay Turkey Trot because it’s close to my work, and so I know the area.

We arrived a half hour before the race because I thought it would be a small local race with a few hundred people. It’s a huge race with well over a thousand people. The bib pick up was as Cuckoolemon put it “a shit show.” The complete and utter chaos and mess of the bib pick up made me even further appreciate the efficient machinery of NYRR and the friendly quick service of NYC Runs. The race organizers of the Oyster Bay Turkey Trot had only day-of bib pick up, but that wasn’t the main cause of the problem. The back log of runners standing in exceedingly long lines had to do with the inefficient manner in which runners were given their bibs. After a runner gave his or her name, a person crossed off their name on a list, looked for the bib, and then yelled at someone to hand them the t-shirt. That person continued to stand in line until he/she got the shirt. THEN the next runner came up to get their bib. As if that didn’t take long enough, the race ran out of medium shirts, so everyone who asked for a medium shirt, then had a 2-3 minute conversation with the person holding the list of names to discuss which shirts they could get (small or large). This conversation only became LONGER when they ran out of small and medium shirts and only large shirts were left. In a fifteen minute period, I saw 4 runners in front of me get their bibs. I never got a shirt because I was so anxious to grab my bib and get out (plus they ran out of smalls).

I cannot begin to describe my aggravation. This is why bibs and shirt pick ups need to be at separate locations, but mostly if there’s a huge line for bib pick ups, the person handing out the bibs needs to be FASTER.

The race was supposed to start at 9 am, but obviously it was postponed because several hundred people still had no bibs. Finally the race director announced that the race was going to start at 9:15 and that runners should seed themselves appropriately. This meant that all the little kids and other runners who proclaimed that they were going to run a 40-min 5K placed themselves right up with the Kenyans. Yes, we had Kenyans at this race.

The first few hundred feet of the race was just as chaotic as the bib pick up. Ben and I did our best to not knock over any little kids (I almost tripped over one when she suddenly stopped in front of me after a couple hundred feet of sprinting). A female runner loudly announced, “I just took down a child and I don’t care. If you’re up front and not going to run fast, then you better be prepared to be run over.” A guy laughed and his voiced boomed, “Lisa, this is why I LOVE you!” The Long Island running crowd takes their running seriously.

I really wanted to PR, which was a big ask since I set a new 5K PR in Oct, but I thought in the very least I could come close to 23:13. Ben offered to pace me. Unfortunately we went out too fast in the first mile (7:17, when I wanted a 7:30 pace) and I paid for it in the last mile.

I ran past the 2-mile marker in just under 15 minutes, which is where I wanted to be. The last mile was painful. I got side stitches from going out too fast. I was in pain. I kept running as best I could, but it was disheartening seeing so many runners pass me.

When I approached the finish line, I saw that I had a shot at going sub-24, so I picked it up the best I could to sneak in under the 24-min mark, which I did. The final time was 23:54, which was good enough for 3rd place in my age group (something I didn’t expect because of the speedy LI runners). This is my 3rd fastest 5K time.

While I’m not entirely happy about my performance, I’m not upset either. I could have done better if I hadn’t gone out too fast in the first mile, but I’m proud of how much faster I am now. Even at a “bad” race, I ran a sub-24 5K, the 3rd fastest time at this distance for me.

The course was pretty flat. It went through the residential streets of Oyster Bay and a part of it went along the shores of the bay. Surprisingly there wasn’t a single water station. I was really glad that I brought my Simple Hydration bottle with me because I can’t survive any race (even in cool weather) without water.

IMG_3752The fun part of this race was seeing the people in their turkey costumes. There were several people running with turkey heads on. This guy had a full-fledged turkey costume. I really admire his dedication.

The Oyster Bay Turkey Trot 5K is a nice enough local race,  but Ben and I won’t be returning. The bib pick up experience and race start were too disorganized and inefficient for us to want to travel to this race. We’d be fine with it if we actually lived in the area. There are too many other races in the NYC metropolitan area for us to be willing to deal with those hassles again, which is a a bit sad because the proceeds go to help bring clean water to Kenya. Plus it’s neat that at a 5K, it’s possible to run with elite Kenyans.

8 thoughts on “Oyster Bay Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

  1. Ugh, annoying! A race I ran a while back was like that. No early pickup and a huge line the morning of. It was the first year so I have them a pass, but we stood around in the cold for 30 minutes after the start time and they kept saying we were “just about to start.”
    Good job though. I love reading turkey trot race reports!

  2. Congrats on your age group place! Sorry you didn’t PR, but you still had a great race. I totally get you on not wanting to deal with the hassle. I did a tri in Port Washington near Oyster Bay that was so disorganized, I decided never to do it again. Stressful bib pick-up isn’t how you want to start a race. But congrats on a fast time nonetheless!

    • Thanks! The saving grace was that it wasn’t freezing cold while we were waiting for the other hundreds of people to get their bibs and make their way to the start line. We couldn’t start without them because they were on the road in the way of the race as they were walking to the start line.

  3. What is that man doing to the turkey?

    That’s too bad about the lack of organization. I’m surprised to hear that there were real life Kenyan elites there! Another big LI race, Great Cow Hanor 10k, doesn’t even get them. The farthest people travel from is CO.

    If you don’t return to Oyster Bay for the race, you should try to visit Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt’s house. Call ahead to make sure the house is open. It’s a beautiful historic spot. Definitely worth the trip.

    • I think he’s “hunting” the turkey, but the turkey is a feisty one.

      Nice tip on Teddy’s house. I didn’t know about it.

      Oyster Bay Turkey Trot gets the Kenyans because they raise money for clean water in Kenya. The villages of those guys are directly helped. I don’t know how the charity relationship exactly got started, but it was cool to physically be near the elites for a few minutes.

  4. Pingback: Third Turkey Trot is the Charm? NYC Turkey Trot Race Report | A Fast Paced Life

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