On November 7, 2015, Weber State University hosted their 11th annual Turkey Trot sprint triathlon – a 5k run followed by a 10k bike, then a 300-yard swim.
For Kelly Boyce, the marketing operations coordinator for campus recreation at Weber State University, this was his first year as the Race Director of the event. “In the beginning, I was more of a one man team, because our staff was kind of depleted. We had kind of a transitional period. … So I ended up doing the entire marketing for it and a lot of the planning for it as well,” said Boyce. “So, it was a little bit interesting. I relied a lot on our student staff.”
But 106 people competed in the race, including students, staff and the community, with athletes coming from four different states. And Boyce is quite pleased with the turnout. He said that is the largest number the Turkey Trot has seen in over four years.
“I think it’s been great for the university. We do have a great response, especially from the community members. Our students really like getting involved with it. Our student employees like working it,” added Boyce.
Weber State University, located in Ogden, Utah hosts many races because the campus is built on a mountain, making for scenic views while running or biking. On average, Boyce said they host about one race on campus every three weeks. November just happened to be a “decent month” to host a holiday triathlon, according to Boyce.
The first place winner of the triathlon received a turkey as a prize. Second place received a chicken and third place was awarded a Cornish game hen. A student staff member also dressed up as a turkey and led pre-race warm-ups at the starting line.
In the future, Boyce hopes to get more sponsorships in order to pass out more free gear to the athletes. “I love giving away free stuff, promoting our campus recreation. I like to get our name out a lot more, but also we kind of have to stay under 150 [athletes,] so there’s not too much room for growth. I would rather just improve the overall atmosphere of the race,” said Boyce.
Additionally, he said hosting races helps the student professional development mission of campus recreation. For events like races, Boyce encourages other directors to ask their students what he or she may be interested in, and allow them to utilize that skill for the event. One of Boyce’ student staff members was interested in photography, and he gave her the opportunity to photograph the Turkey Trot.
“It allows students have a lot of interaction in running a course, being their own race manager and getting experience running events. I would say races like 5ks and mini-triathlons are a great way for students to get into the event field without having to get too much experience getting in with another corporation,” explained Boyce.
Any money Boyce raises in the future from sponsorships will also go toward scholarships for student staff members and T-shirts for the event. Because according to Boyce, “T-shirts mean everything. If they like the T-shirt, you’re good.”