Just two days before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 24, Cupertino held its annual after-school Turkey Trot. As a tradition, all students and staff were invited to run, with prizes and pumpkin pie set up for afterwards. Participants were also encouraged to wear costumes in the spirit of the festivity. Sadly, none ended up doing so.
The Turkey Trot is divided into two parts: a two mile long race, and the less competitive “fun run”. Although one was considered a “race”, both were recreational and had runners with a wide range of experience and paces. The course of the race started from track, but then continued onward into various other parts around campus, including onto the nearby street and around multiple fields.
Said cross country runner and sophomore Debarshi Basak, “I came out last year to run with my friends and I saw that it was a fun experience. […] This is a more […] relaxing race than cross country where everything is competitive. […] You get to have fun with your friends and you don’t exactly have to focus on competition and everything about winning.” Basak took first place with a total time just over ten minutes, and received a medal along with a mini turkey for his prize. “[Before the run] I said I would at least try and see how well I could do, and I guess, that was [carried out] today in the race.”
ASB advisor and history teacher Wes Morse helped to coordinate the run, while student volunteers helped set up, keep times and direct the runners through the course. Said Morse, “We want to keep it fun and light and not have it be overly serious. I think having silly fun traditions at a high school is kind of a cool thing. This appeals to a different kind of pioneer; we have powderpuff, and we have capture the flag, and we have a run.”
The Turkey Trot is a fairly new tradition that started at Cupertino just five years back. The idea was partly inspired by a similar race called “the Watermelon Run” held at Fremont High School. Former ASB advisor and Fremont High School alumni, Jeff Rosado brought the idea of a run to Cupertino and even inspired other Cupertino teachers to compete against Fremont in their tradition five years ago. In addition, retired Cupertino history teacher Jay Lawson had personal ties to the prospect of a Turkey Trot as well.
Said Morse, “His dad started the very first Turkey Trot in Cupertino, and he did it at his K-8 school. […] As coincidence would have it, my wife’s great aunt was the very first winner of the Turkey Trot in 1949. And so, one of the things that Mr. Rosado in his ASB class was trying to do around 2010 or 2011 was look at some Cupertino traditions that they might be able to bring back. […] We thought just kind of a little casual kind of fun run might be kind of a fun thing to do.”
As a recreational event solely for the community’s enjoyment, the Turkey Trot is one of many school traditions that serves as a reminder there is a more lighthearted and spirited community aspect to high school, beyond the academics.
Gallery Courtesy of Jennifer Zaratan.