Sports and the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA go together like turkey and Aunt Maureen’s homemade stuffing. American football kicks off on Thanksgiving Day. Many fans will watch games on television, while others, like my nephew Wade, build up an appetite for Maureen’s Thanksgiving feast with football games at a nearby field.

I’ll be building up my appetite with a 10-kilometer run around my neighborhood. The 30th annual Turkey Chase is one of many road races held in American cities on Thanksgiving morning. These events are often fundraisers for organizations or charitable causes. My race raises money for the

Turkey Chase 1983 T-Shirt

local YMCA.

My neighbor Rachel says her knees hurt when she runs, so she plans to walk a two mile Turkey Chase course on Thanksgiving morning. Rachel also admits she’s looking forward to trying on the official Turkey Chase T-shirt given to all participants. It reminds me of a line from the late Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon: “Never underestimate the power of a T-shirt.”

Runners at the start of the 2010 Turkey Chase

Rachel also says the healthy nature of the event appeals to her, which brings to mind a Thanksgiving message from another late sportsman, Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden: “So often we fail to acknowledge what we have because we’re so concerned about what we want. We fail to give real thanks for the many blessings for which we did nothing: our life itself, the flowers, the trees, our family and friends. This moment. All of our blessings we take for granted so much of the time.”

I used to take running for granted, but after knee surgery in 2007, I don’t anymore. So on Thanksgiving morning, when I’m at the starting line, I’ll say a little prayer to the God of my understanding: “Thank you for my health.” “Thank you for letting me run again.”