Given the race’s name, a few runners at last Thursday’s “Double B” Gallop and Gorge 8K (5-mile) road race in Carrboro probably counted guilt-free feasting later on Thanksgiving Day as an incentive to race. Fact is, each runner burns only about 500 calories on average during the annual run—about the same number of calories in one slice of pecan pie.
Rather than burning calories, however, the majority are likely lured out into the autumn chill each Thanksgiving by the warmth of a welcoming, familial running community.
The annual race features the “Double B” homage to Cardinal co-founder (with Dick Forbis) Bobby “Double B” Biles, who now resides in Colorado. It was the final race in another of the Cardinal Track Club’s Tour de Carrboro three-race series. The Four on the Fourth (of July) marked the first Tour event in 2012, and Oct. 6 saw the next installment, the Carrboro 10K race.
The Cardinal Track Club ( www.cardinaltrack.com
) is a Carrboro / Chapel Hill-based organization dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of running at all levels.
“I loved seeing all the runners this morning,” Cardinal president and race director Sandy Padden said as she handed out official race beanie-style toboggan hats. “Everyone was running with their new Gallop and Gorge beanies on. It was a great sight,”
Though 1,425 runners registered for the event, representing 27 states, the women’s race was just another intimate gathering of family and friends. Local favorite and former Olympian Joan Nesbit Mabe captured the women’s overall title in a time of 31:37.51, while Chapel Hill High graduate Ahna Weeks (32:07.78) placed second, and Weeks’ friend, former Tiger teammate, and Nesbit Mabe’s oldest daughter Sarah Jane Kerwin (32:26.01) finished third.
“A lot of the fastest racers didn’t show up,” Nesbit Mabe said, “and the ones that did just had Nationals a few days ago.”
Weeks and Kerwin were fresh off NCAA Division III Cross-Country National Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana, Weeks representing Carleton College and Kerwin wearing the colors of Oberlin College.
“I could see my mom until the last mile and a half,” Kerwin said, laughing, “and then she just rocketed into the front. She said we were going to just come out and not run really hard.”
Nesbit Mabe said winning was not half the thrill of running with her daughter.
“I think having Sarah Jane here was better than anything,” she said.
It was Chapel Hill’s Kaleb Keyserling capturing the overall title (25:50.01), with Mitch VanBruggen finishing second (26:01.77) and Apex’s Matthew Waller in third (26:12.01).
“It was so nice to finally win this race, because I’ve been second so many times,” Keyserling said. He noted the course had been reversed from previous years. “I’ve never run the course this way: backwards. I liked it.”
Among the masters women, it was Alicia Parr (33:55.73) in first, with Ellen Parker (34:05.48) in second, and JoAnna Younts (35:11.73) rounding out the top three. Among masters males, Christopher Zieman (27:06.76) was atop the podium, with Chapel Hill’s John Hinton (28:37.76) earning silver, and Jim Clabuesch (29:36.27) earning bronze.
Also coming up winners were the Cardinal Track Club Community Partners.
All three races in the Tour series benefited 2012 benefactors, including the Optimists’ Club of Chapel Hill, the Arc of Orange County, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the Get Real and Heel Breast Cancer Program, the UNC Wellness Medical Fitness Scholarship, and TABLE — a nonprofit organization bringing college students and community volunteers together to help feed hungry children locally.
“In 2011, the Tour de Carrboro contributed $39,000 to our six local partner organizations who were providing volunteers to the race,” Cardinal treasurer Meredith Bolon said. “Thanks to the growth in participation, we’re expecting to contribute almost $50,000 to our charities in 2012.”
In addition to the volunteers, also helping out with event logistics was Tina Clossick of Chapel Hill’s Kidzu Children’s Museum, who kept youngsters busy with activities while parents ran.
We had a bounce house this time to keep the kids energized and warm,” she said. “We’ve also got jump ropes and hula hoops: things like that.”
Next up for many local runners will be a number of midwinter trail races, including the Trailheads’ Little River 7K and 10-mile Trail Runs on Saturday, Jan. 19. Registration is still open through www.trailheads.org.
“Right now, we’re at about 225 (registrants), and we’re counting on around 600,” Trailhead David Elam said. “We’ve raised more than $37,000 for the park over the past seven years.”
Several races are offered as part of the Carolina Godiva Running Club’s winter series ( www.carolinagodiva.org)
, including the Couch Mountain Run on Dec. 9, Godiva’s New Year’s Day Run on Jan. 1, and the Eno Equalizer on Jan. 20. On Saturday, Feb. 2, Bull City Running ( www.bullcityrunning
) will stage the Uwharrie Mountain Runs, comprised of technically challenging 8, 20, and 40-mile trail runs through the Uwharrie National Forest.