Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

Course Map Since starting this blog I’ve really enjoyed reading about the early history of El Camino Real, particularly the stories of the Spanish padres and soldiers and the missions they established throughout the state. It’s a very complex history, rife with comedy, tragedy, injustice, and achievement. These men had focus, faith, courage, and unforgivably racist ideals. But the thing that impresses me the most is their stamina. Pure physical stamina. I have no idea how these guys did what they did.

The story is often told that the California missions were spaced one hard day’s walk apart. Okay. Google maps tells me that Mission Santa Clara is 45 miles from Mission San Francisco, a fifteen hour walk. Fifteen hours! Even that’s not so bad, as at the end of it you get a nice steaming bowl of posole and a red-tiled roof over your head. Think of the intrepid souls who simply went out trekking through the wilderness, like Don Gaspár de Portolá and Juan Bautista de Anza. Sure they had horses and pack animals, but you know some poor vassals in their parties were on foot. Junípero Serra personally founded missions from Loreto in Baja California to San Francisco in the north before his death at age 70. That’s a lot of ground he covered.

Nowadays we may not be called upon to hoof the length of entire counties, but we can pay homage to the padres’ pedestrian prowess with its modern yet ancient analog: the marathon. Well, a marathon is still way too long. How about a nice 10K?

Santa Clara St BellThis Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving Day, the Applied Materials Silicon Valley 2009 Turkey Trot winds its way in and out of downtown San Jose. It’s a 5K run/walk and 10K run (for people, not turkeys) that starts and ends on Santa Clara Street in front of HP Pavilion. Santa Clara Street is of course part of El Camino Real. The 10K course follows a significant stretch of The Alameda as well.

The event is in its fifth year and benefits local charities: Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The Title Sponsor is silicon equipment manufacturer Applied Materials; the timing is sadly ironic as they have problems of their own.

You can register for the race online or on-site; registration opens at 7:00 AM and the race starts at 8:30 AM. There are additional festivities like a Kid’s Fun Run, a costume contest, and cash prizes for elite runners. The beauty of it is you go, you walk or run, and you burn up some calories so if you celebrate the holiday with a feast afterward you can do so with a clear conscience and you have lively stories to entertain your fellow diners. We’ve come a long way since the Mission days.

Turkey Trot Finish Line

Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

5K Run/Walk & 10K Run
Thursday, November 26, 2009 (Thanksgiving morning)
Guadalupe River Park Confluence Meadow
Downtown San Jose

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.