By Christopher Cudworth
So I was running in the hills of Decorah, Iowa, clipping along at 7:00 minute pace when what should appear beside me but a real, live female turkey. She ran up out of a ditch and stood by the side of the road, running in place. “You know, I bet you think you’re hot stuff, running all those miles in them fancy shoes.”
“Um,” I said. “I did not know that turkeys can talk.”
“What, haven’t you seen a Pixar movie in the last 15 years?”
“I stand corrected.”
“So, Mr. Running Shoes. Want to race me in a real turkey trot?”
“I haven’t really been competing the last few years,” I admitted. “Much less against a real turkey.”
“What’s the matter?” she challenged. “Are you some kind of chicken?”
“I’m guessing that’s some kind of turkey joke,”
“Of course.,” she crowed. “We turkeys are full of good humor. We have to be. Life is not easy for a turkey you know. Not with you humans around.”
“You have a point,” I admitted.
“Of course, this time of year, it’s not easy being a female turkey with all those male turkeys around, either,” she chuckled. There’s nothing like mating season to put a female turkey on her toes, so to speak.”
“Yes, I hear tom turkeys can get a little horny this time of year.”
“You said, it buster,” she clucked through her thick beak. “Tom, Dick and Harry. All those horny male turkeys want to do is…”
And just then a car whizzed past us.
“God I hate those things,” she chirped. “How can you stand running along these roads when those blankety blank cars keep roaring past.”
“You get used to it,” I offered.
“Not me!” Lady Turkey exclaimed. “I nearly jump out of my drumsticks every time one of them comes roaring past.”
“Maybe you just haven’t had enough time to evolve and get used to them,” I suggested.
“You believe in that evolution stuff?” she asked.
“Yes, I do.”
“Not me. According to Turkey Religion, all the creatures of the world hatched from eggs over a 7 day period.”
“Interesting,” I quietly replied. “Some humans have a similar theory.”
“Anyway, are we going to race or not?” she egged me on. “If you’re so big on Survival of the Fittest, let’s see you prove it! I bet I can beat you in a mile race. Easy.”
“Okay,” I told her. “But it’s no fair flapping your wings and flying. I hear you can reach speeds of 55 mph on the wing.”
“And 25 mph on the run,” she snarled in her churliest turkey voice.
“Really?” I said, exasperated. “You’re telling me you could beat Usain Bolt over 100 meters?”
“That turkey?” she laughed. “He’s only human you know. I could dust him easily.”
“Even if he does use steroids…” I mused.
“Did I scare you off now?” she challenged. “Are you still game to race me?”
“”I figure you for a sprinter,” I said. “I don’t think you can beat me over a mile.”
“Is that so?” she responded. “Well let’s have at it. Let the 1 Mile Turkey Trot begin.”
We stood side by side on the rural road. Ahead of us stretched the purtiest little section of road you ever did see.
“On your marks,” I announced. “Get SETTTT! Go!”
The turkey tore off ahead of me. This turkey chick really was fast. Even at 5:30 pace, top speed for me these days, I had no chance of keeping up. I could see her rufus rump receding in the distance. She disappeared around the curve ahead of me.
I tried picking up my pace in hopes of catching a glimpse of her at the finish line.
But to my horror, I found her collapsde in a heap of rumpled feathers and guts around the next curve.
“What happened?” I asked incredulously.
“It was one of them tom turkeys trying to track me down,” she complained, heaving her last breath. “We collided head on at 30 miles an hour. He’s knocked out over there in the ditch, and here am I. Now we’e nothing but fodder for the Turkey Vultures. What an end! I didn’t even make the Thanksgiving table.”
“Well, you’re better off for that,” I advised. “Thanksgiving is no bargain when it comes to being a turkey. Let me tell you. It’s almost as bad as being devoured by those trolls on the running group on Reddit. I’ve had that experience and it’s a pretty terrible ordeal, like being eaten by those little dinosaurs in the movie Jurassic Park. So I’d rather donate my gimlets to a hungry hoard at Thanksgiving than die from cuts delivered by people who seem to hate on anyone posting content that doesn’t fit their narrow view of what running is about.”
“Do me a favor,” she groaned. “At least enter my time today for the Strava segment on this road. At least my death will have been worth something.”
“How noble,” I advised her. “You’ll be recognized with the rest of the turkeys on Strava.”
“Thank you,” she sighed. And then she died.
You can see that she really gave her guts to the cause. We should all be inspired to excel in our future Turkey Trots if this turkey was an example for the rest of us. Next time you race a Turkey Trot, be sure to give it your all in her honor. And watch out for the trolls.