The temperatures, which settled in the mid-20s by sunrise, didn’t stop the roughly 12,000 participants from taking part in the event that benefited MUST Ministries.
The Gobble Jog featured timed and untimed 10K and 5K races, as well as a 1K run/walk and a “tot trot” for children ages 5 and under.
Ryan Burrus, a 2009 graduate of Harrison High School, where he ran cross country, placed first in the 10K, but he was untimed and crossed the line with an unofficial time of 34 minutes, 7 seconds. The official winner, George Darden of Marietta, crossed the line at 34:10.84.
“Every year, this is something I just come out and do and meet up with all of my friends from high school,” said Burrus, who graduated from Kennesaw State this past spring with a degree in criminal justice and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the same discipline. “It’s good to get together and see everyone during Thanksgiving.”
It was Burrus’ ninth year participating in the Gobble Jog.
“It feels good to be the top finisher,” he said. “The weather is a little chilly, but other than that, it was a good course and a good atmosphere. The turnout is always spectacular. Everyone getting together on Thanksgiving, especially in the cold, and donating on Thanksgiving is always a great thing.”
Alec Blenis of Woodstock was second in 35:46.2, followed by Kennesaw’s Nathan O’Connell, a former Harrison teammate of Burrus’ who won the Gobble Jog in 2010. O’Connell came in at 36:33.2.
The 6.2-mile course began at the Marietta Square and proceeded north on Cherokee Street, navigating through the neighborhood near WellStar Kennestone Hospital before returning down Church Street to the Square for a second lap.
Wayne Goff of Acworth finished fifth overall and was the 10K masters division winner with a time of 37:35.79. Woodstock’s Dawn Hultstrom placed 44th overall and was the 10K women’s masters winner at 43:59.79.
Libby Feaster McCravy of Memphis, Tenn., was the top 10K female finisher, clocking in at 40:42.40. She placed 22nd overall.
“We’ve been trying to make sure that healthy living is a part of our lifestyle, and so we’re trying to make sure it’s a part of our holidays, too,” said McCravy, who was at the event with her husband, Matt, as their family visited relatives for the holiday.
“I was really shocked when they said 12,000 people were participating (Thursday). I thought for sure that I wouldn’t even have a chance. I thought I’d just come out and have fun. But then I was feeling really good on the front 5K, and it just ended up happening for me on the back end. I thought the cold weather would slow me down, but I love being out here with these runners. It really invigorates you and makes you want to push yourself.”
Marrion Kalafut, another Harrison graduate, was second-best female at 41:41. Kennesaw’s Caitlin Dodd followed at 42:32.9.
Josh Carson, a Campbell High School graduate who now lives in Atlanta, won the 5K with a time of 16:04.32.
“It’s turkey day, so I figured, if I’m going to eat a lot of food, I have to earn my turkey first,” said the 27-year-old Carson, who ran in college at West Georgia and Shorter. “It was a good race for me. I just wanted to give a hard effort. It was a little cold out there, so I was a little numb and didn’t really know what kind of pace I was running, but it turned out to be a good workout.”
Carson uses events like the Gobble Jog to help him train for bigger races.
“I try to come out (to races like this) as much as I can,” he said. “I’m getting ready for the U.S. half-marathon championships in Houston in January, so I’m just trying to get some work done right now. I think this is my fifth or sixth Gobble Jog. It’s a family tradition, and it’s always been fun.”
Carson was followed by Marietta’s Varun Gopinath (17:12.1) and Atlanta’s Calvin Tirrell (17:59.4).
Dan Cole of Johns Creek placed seventh overall (18:38.6) and was the masters 5K winner.
Jamie Bingham of Marietta claimed the women’s race, crossing the line fourth overall in 18:31.25. Atlanta’s Barbara Carson was the second-best female in 19:37.7, with 12-year-old Alex Whiten of Acworth crossing in 20:43.9.
Tina Klein of Kennesaw clocked in at 22:16.47, finishing 64th to earn the women’s 5K masters title.