Thanksgiving XC 2022 – Race Recap

29th Annual Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic Race Report

It was a Thanksgiving to remember. A chilly and clear start at Reid Park is how over 2,600 folks began their Thanksgiving morning.

We’ve heard chatter and, perhaps, grumblings, asking questions about the Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic. We’d like to take a moment to explain a few things about the TCCC.

Where did the water jumps go? If you ran in the event in 2019 or before, there were not only hay bales to jump over but a couple of water jumps as well. Many of you really love those water jumps! Most of the best photos from those years were taken at the water. So why are they gone? Until 2019, Martin was our co-race director. Martin worked for Parks and Rec and had access to their equipment. He knew how to properly prepare the water pits and reinstate the park to its previous state. When Martin left Parks and Rec to work elsewhere, he retired from race directing. We no longer have an “inside” man to create the water jumps and Parks and Rec will NOT allow us to have them. While we have had many generous offers to dig the pits overnight, we cannot jeopardize our relationship with Parks and Rec and have to decline those offers. So we apologize if you really love the water but we sincerely hope that you still enjoy the event!

Why don’t we give out technical tee shirts like most other events? There are two significant reasons. The first is cost. We try to keep costs as low as possible so that entire families can participate. Keeping entry fees to a minimum is also why we don’t offer “family” rates. We hope that the low entry fees for each individual are equal to what a family rate would be for other events. Our highest 5K entry fee of $35 on race day is less than where most 5K entry fees begin. A technical tee would add a minimum of $5-$10 to each entry fee. (This is the same reason that we don’t give out medals to each finisher.) The second reason is that we try our best to offer the same color and style of tee for men, women and youth. There are very few events that offer tee shirts in men’s, women’s and youth sizes. Many times it limits color selection, as it did this year. Because we ordered about 2,700 shirts, finding enough sizes in those three categories was a challenge. Even the manufacturer was out of most colors!

Why is there a line for food when there wasn’t in the past? Only one reason – safety. Per our food permit regulations, food must be served by tongs for safety. Because there were volunteers who did not show, we had three volunteers, Caitlyn, Kiera and Chad, preparing and serving food. We apologize for the delay but thank Caitlyn, Kiera and Chad for hanging in there and feeding hungry runners! We are considering alternatives-maybe instead of cut up fruit and bagels, a full banana and packaged granola bar will be offered next year.

Why do men and women run in separate events? This is technically a cross country event, following the general rules of school cross country competition. Men compete in one race, women in another. That is why we require same gender teams. Because it is a multiloop course, it is a great opportunity to cheer on your regular running mate instead of running together. But if a man and woman really want to run together, while we won’t kick them off of the course, one of them will not qualify for awards. So if a woman runs in the men’s event, she won’t be able to be scored with the other women. And vice versa. And because of the volume of participants, the strict guidelines of when teams must be registered and entered are adhered to. We apologize for not making exceptions for those who requested them.

Why, under awards, is “turkey” in quotation marks? For awards, first place age groups receive a “turkey.” We don’t give real turkeys out as awards but instead find something fun representing a turkey to remind winners of the event. This year’s turkey was a salt and pepper shaker set. Previous turkeys include a spoon rest, hot pad, cheese board, gravy server, salad servers, towel, fleece blanket and a dip cup.

I am super grateful for Lucas stepping in as co-race director after Martin retired. Lucas does an outstanding job and I hope that you can appreciate the amount of effort it takes to put this type of event on. As race directors, we want to know what works and what doesn’t work and try to improve year after year. We know that this year it was difficult to hear announcements at the start line. Parks and Rec required us to move the location of DJ Rich and that resulted in lower volume at the start line. We’ve already discussed how to address it for next year and expect that issue to be resolved. We cannot express our gratitude to DJ Rich for his cooperation in providing awesome entertainment year after year, regardless of the challenges provided from outside sources.

Regardless of what some folks consider glitches, we loved seeing all of you, the costumes, the grins and the athleticism displayed Thanksgiving morning! 

As usual, the women kicked off the competition. First overall was Jori Galles in a time of 19:05 and first masters was Megan Greene in 20:41. In the 10 and under group, Matilda Knotts took 1st. Other first place women were Sophy Floyd in 11-13, Katie McNulty in 14-16, Alonna Hannibal in 17-19, Sailor Hutton 20-24, Billie Lubis 25-29, Katie James 30-34, Whitney Penny 35-39, Cara Payne 40-44, Jeanne Anne Krizman 45-49, Nina Johnson 50-54, Lisa Anderson 55-59, Joan D’alonzo 60-64, Amy Hegarty 65-69, Junie Hostetler 70-74, Loretta Gascoigne 75-79 and Sue Smith 80 and over.

Men were next with Miles Dunbar taking first place in 15:59 and masters winner Paul Leblond in 18:02. Age group winners were Jasper Fountain in 10 and under, Angus McDonnell in 11-13, Max Irey in 14-16, Emmanuel Leblond 17-19, Jonah Barber 20-24, Jeff Gautreau 25-29, Benjamin Constsntinides 30-34, Charlie Ware 35-39, Kyle Colavito 40-44, Jon Lansa 45-49, Dave Dixon 50-54, Alejandro Garcia 55-59, Brian Stewart 60-64, Benito Gonzales 65-69, John Trull 70-74, Dan Sullivan 75-79 and Paul Robillia in 80 and over.

The 1.5 mile Fun Run was next with over 1,040 participants. Always the biggest field, it was fantastic to see the joy in this amazing group.

The top finishers in the Duo Teams were Dalton Wiley in 1st, Rylan McDaniel in 2nd and Luke Senner in 3rd. The top team for women was Lady Woggers in a combined time of 1:22:42 with the top four finishers being Jori Galles, Eva Peters, Claire Hans and Cara Payne. Second place ladies team was Lady Woggers, Too, with a time of 1:35:18, with the top finishers being Sylvia Sullivan, Kara Rubelt, Paulette Yates and Elle Steiner. The men’s top team was Reid Park Rangers (and Badgers), in a time of 1:10:02, with Jonah Barber, Joseph Moreno, Mani Braitberg and Anthony Renguul in the top four. The second men’s team was SC Alumni in a time of 1:13:20, with Diego Delgado, John Harris, Benji Thomas and Diego Behshad in the top four.

Oro Valley Photography was our official photographer again. You probably noticed them running around with their cameras or maybe you took advantage of the photo booth. This year The Running Shop sponsored free downloads of all photos. So visit and enter your bib number to find your photos. (PS-this is one reason why wearing your bib number on the front of your shirt is so important!)

There aren’t enough words to express our gratitude to our sponsors; The Running Shop, Brooks, Tile Outlet, Sparkletts, and Bruegger’s Bagels. Please support these local businesses and share your gratitude for their support. I want to acknowledge our long time artist extraordinaire, Chip Travers! Every year he wows us with another turkey. And we must express our multitudes of appreciation for our amazing volunteers! Included in this very long list is Michelle Hawk and Dave Dixon, Kiera C, Chad C, Laurie R, Gary G, Lupita R, Brittni W, Sahra A, John O, Maureen C, Karl P, Stacey B, Caitlin C, Dave S, Vivian S, Paulina Y, Don P, Joe P, Mely B, Billie L, Vanessa N, Harrelsen N, Connie L, Emily C, Sean C, Alicia A, Kris F, Carlos S, Bridget P and her son, and Nicole M. (If I missed your name, I truly apologize. Your help is truly appreciated!) A heartfelt shout out to my staff at The Running Shop for their support and assistance in preparation: Lucas, Geoff, Kiera, Brian, Laurie, Bob and Quentin.And a further shout out to my daughter in law, Tara, and grandkids Avianna and Luca, for their expert assistance at the awards ceremony. Thank you again to all!

We also appreciate the cooperation of our beneficiaries Toys for Tots and Team Hoyt Arizona. Together with your donations and our commitment to these important organizations, $3,900 was donated to Toys for Tots as well as $3,000 to Team Hoyt Arizona. 

If you lost something at the race, please check with The Running Shop. We had a few things turned in and are keeping them safe for someone to claim. If you haven’t picked up your award, it is also available at The Running Shop. 

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!

Sharon Bart