These 5 people tried a 5km walk or run for Thanksgiving and they all succeeded

In November, Start TODAY, a community of nearly 150,000 people committed to improving their health and fitness, challenged their members to walk or run three miles in six weeks. Many of our members used this challenge as a starting point to participate in her Turkey Trot and other Thanksgiving-themed 5K races. Here’s how five members did it.

JacqueAnn Taylor embraced ‘wogging’

A little over seven years ago, JacqueAnn Taylor, 59, and her husband began hitting the gym after he recovered from pancreatic cancer surgery. I found a runners club in the town of Wichita Falls that was starting a new couch for the 5K group, so I decided to join,” she says. Since then, she’s been “wogging,” or intervals between running and walking. She has completed Ragnar her relay (trail run), several half her marathons and other distance races.

JacqueAnn Taylor is an avid “wagger”.Courtesy: Jack Ann

But she says, “During COVID, I got lazy.” So a year and a half ago Taylor returned to racing. She signed up with two of her colleagues to do her Ironman relay and promised to do the running portion. “I walk more than I run now, but I still love the excitement of attending events and am blessed to have a crazy accountability partner to do events with,” she says.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, they traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they ran the 5K on Saturday and ran the marathon relay on Sunday. With an accountable partner, she finds encouragement in her Start TODAY Facebook group. You can see all my many other posts that help me get my shoes on and moving. ”

Michele Johnson signed up for a virtual race

Michele Johnson, 43, was watching the TODAY show when she saw the challenge. increase. “I love a challenge and this one challenged me to keep my journey to health on track.”

Michele Johnson is looking for a race to run on Christmas!
Michele Johnson is looking for a race to run on Christmas!Courtesy Michele Johnson

The small town of Johnson, Rugby, North Dakota, didn’t have a Thanksgiving 5K. So she attended a live virtual event based in Charlotte, North Carolina. “It was like I was there, but I was actually on the treadmill. It was like I was standing by other runners. I saw my family racing together.” Some had dogs, some were wearing costumes, and I could hear the crowd cheering.

Johnson’s goal was to finish in under 45 minutes, but halfway through, she was on track. “Towards the end there was more cheering and I wanted to push a little. That’s what I did and I finished in 42.98 minutes. I’m looking for something to sign up for when the time comes.”

The camaraderie of the Start TODAY group was an important part of her success. “I got strength from her Start TODAY group and even got to post my journey on the page. It’s nice to be part of something that’s encouraging rather than negative. I wanted to do it,” she said. “Thanks to Start TODAY, we did it!”

Pamela Witt uses interval training

Pamela Witt’s journey to 5K success began on June 1, 2022 when she joined Start TODAY and took on the 30-day walking challenge of the month. Witt continued to walk all summer when the challenge was over.Less than six months later on Thanksgiving Day, 57-year-old Witt hit her 5K for the third time in less than a month. Did.

Pam Witt has competed in three 5K races since June!
Pam Witt has competed in three 5K races since June!Courtesy Pam Witt

In September, she and her husband began training for the first 5K in Springfield, Missouri. “I walked in an hour,” she says. Next up was her run/walk for charity in her hometown of Dadeville, Missouri, adding her 30-second interval run to the walk. “She finished the 5K last and she lost eight minutes,” she says.

Rounding out her month of racing was the Turkey Trot in Willard, Missouri. “I think the third time is attractive because she beat her second race time by six minutes and finished the race in 46 minutes,” she says. Her husband walked and ran with her and cheered her on. They’re looking for another one of her 5Ks to make 2022 a strong fit.

Missy Gyllenwater walked 5 kilometers every day

In February 2022, 50-year-old Missy Gillenwater was diagnosed with acid reflux, which affects her mouth and required major changes to her diet. “I figured if I couldn’t eat anything, I’d start walking to help her lose weight and exercise,” she says. “Now she walks every day and since March 1st she has lost 88 pounds.”

Missy Gillenwater ran a virtual 5k for Thanksgiving.
Missy Gillenwater ran a virtual 5k for Thanksgiving. Courtesy Missy Gyllenwater

Gillenwater walks about three miles every morning, and she admits she didn’t even know how far 5K was. “I walk five kilometers every day!” she says. (If you’re not good with the metric system, 5K is her 3.1 miles.)

Gillenwater saw a post in the Start TODAY group where someone suggested playing a virtual turkey trot and decided to give it a try. she says: She didn’t know what her time would be, but it was her fastest time that day. When she practiced she had 55 minutes a few times and on that day she finished with 52 minutes. I was so excited! I worked until then from the people in the program who motivated me!”

Jennifer Byrd added running to her walking routine — and fell in love with it

In August 2021, Jennifer Byrd, 42, started walking 30 minutes a day. “Within a few days, I decided that I wanted to throw running into the mix,” she said.

Jennifer Byrd cut a 14-minute mile down to just 10 minutes.
Jennifer Byrd cut a 14-minute mile down to just 10 minutes.Courtesy Jennifer Byrd

She ran her first 5K in October 2021 and fell in love with running live races. “Running has helped me lose 70 pounds and give me more confidence. I went from running to running for 10 minutes,” she says.

But it wasn’t until Thanksgiving, when she ran the turkey trot at Highland Park, Illinois, near her home, that she had run 10km. “It was hot in the end and I was overdressed, so I struggled, but I got through it,” she says. “Crowds and excitement are what I live for. Other runners are also a great motivator.”

That Saturday she ran the 5K Turkey Trot in Schaumburg, Illinois. “This race will be a great memory for me as I set my best mile time in 9:36 and finished with a personal best of 34:11. I bought myself some time,” she says. “My goal is to keep setting new times and run as long as possible.”

Bard says he uses the Start TODAY Facebook group to keep himself motivated and motivate others. “Several people in my life have contacted me, asked me questions, and told me they were motivated,” she said. says.

If you’re looking to walk or run 5K, we have a plan to get you there in 6 weeks. And whether racing is for you or not, the Start TODAY Facebook Group is a community of inspiring people waiting to welcome you and help you work towards your own health goals. You can also participate in the Start TODAY December Walking Challenge.

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