AUSTIN, TX – Austin’s biggest annual road race just got bigger. A record crowd of approximately 23,000 showed up for the 21st annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot 5-Miler and Family Mile, making it one of the largest Thanksgiving runs in the US.
On a warmer than average morning with a stiff southerly breeze, 39-year-old Andrew Letherby did what veteran runners do by allowing a pack of young guns pace the first miles and break the wind. The course change – now in it’s third year away from Waterloo Park – took runners up Lavaca before hanging a left on 15th towards Mopac. Not for the faint of heart, the first two miles are mostly uphill but that didn’t slow Letherby or his younger counterparts. Former St. Andrews Episcopal High School standout Roberto Diaz led the way in the early going, hitting 10 minutes even at mile 2. As the group flew down Mopac and on to Cesar Chavez, 22-year-old Lorin Wilson attempted to take control.
“I tried to push and put some distance on them after mile 4,” the one-time Boerne and UT stud said. “But he got me on the South First bridge and I didn’t have a response.” That “he” is Letherby, an Australian currently living in Austin with a 5K PR of under 14 minutes. The Aussie flew by Wilson, Diaz and Chris Galvin to take the race in 24:56, a record for the second-year Turkey Trot course.
On the women’s side, Kelly Williamson continued her domination of local racing by holding off a surging Jennifer Bergman in the final miles to win in 27:50. The tri-gal took the lead early, putting time between a pair of 20-year-olds by the second mile. If Bergman’s name doesn’t sound familiar it’s because she’s currently a Senior at the University of Arizona. Earlier this week she was named first-team all conference in the Pac-12 for the 2012 cross country season. But the young legs didn’t have enough speed to chase down Williamson who continues to build her ever-growing racing resume. Former Trinity University distance runner Emily Duam faded in the final miles but held on for third in 28:41.
In the Master’s division, Sebastian Villalva claimed another Turkey Trot title. If you were around in the 90’s you might remember Villalva taking the overall title – five to be exact – but the 46-year-old isn’t training as much and was simply looking to turn in a good race. His time of 28:33 was more than a minute ahead of second place Michael Budde (29:38), and good enough to finish in the top 20. Scott McIntyre rounded out the top three, also claiming the Grand Master trophy (50 and up).
Familiar name Jennifer Fisher outpaced her female master counterparts in a time of 31:49. Cindy Kueck took second with 33:07 and Andrea Fisher third in 33:46.
Mary Faria smoked her Grand Master competition with a winning time of 37:09. No stranger to the podium, Faria has logged a number of age group titles with the most recent at the Run for the Water 10-Miler. Taking second was Nancy Mallory (38:20) and Chris Dixon of Belton in third at 39:38.
The Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot benefits Caritas of Austin, last year raising more than $250,000 for the organization.
Report filed by Michael Madison.