The Lions Club that joked around with a 0.3 kilometer Albany Beer Run in September is getting serious about its main event: The Gobbler's Revenge, a set of Thanksgiving morning runs in North Albany.
The event, formerly called the Oregon Mid-Valley Road Race, is marking its 10th year with big changes.
"Since we added the half marathon last year, our event has outgrown the parking lot at North Albany Village,” Race Director Jim Abbott said. "From now on the Gobbler's Revenge will start and finish at the North Albany Middle School, just up North Albany Road from the Village. We will still use the parking lot at the Village.”
Half marathon racers, whose event starts first, will be able to park at the school. Participants in the 5K and 10K runs and the dog-friendly 2.5-mile walk will continue to park at North Albany Village.
To shuttle participants between the village and the school, the IGA grocery store is sponsoring the Albany Trolley.
The "turkey trot" exacts its revenge at three distances: 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers and a 13.1-mile half-marathon.
“With the inclusion of this event in the Oregon Half Series, we’re on track to make the Gobbler’s Revenge a regional destination event, bringing runners from up and down the Willamette Valley,” Abbott said. “It is one of the last half marathons of the year, and our runners feel that they have earned their Thanksgiving dinner when they cross the finish line.”
The shift to North Albany Middle School is just one of many changes to the event. The Gobbler's Revenge also will have:
• A new race management company with state-of-the-art technology for faster registration and results. Runners will have access to photos of themselves competing soon after the race.
• An earlier, streamlined awards ceremony. For each distance, prizes will be awarded for the first three finishers in these divisions: men’s overall, women’s overall, men’s masters and women’s masters. All half marathon finishers will receive a finisher medal. Runners who placed in their age category will be able to download a digital certificate commemorating their achievement.
• The “School Challenge,” which previously awarded $1,000 to the middle school and high school with the most participants, will reward all school Boosters and PTOs based on participation. (Schools must contact Abbott by Nov. 20 for information about how to register for the fundraiser.)
• Packet pick-up the evening before the runs will also shifted to the middle school. Pick up race packets from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21.
• Fans of the SnapChat smart phone app will like the new geo-filter sponsored by Sears, which auto-tags photos and selfies taken at the race.
The event will also have a “gear check” to hold warmup clothes for runners, and will serve hot drinks for fans who wait at the finish line to cheer in the brisk fall air.
"As we start our second decade, the Gobbler's Revenge is hitting its stride," Abbott said.