CHARLESTON — Two records were broken at the 31st annual Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Run with the largest crowd and fastest run. Approximately 4,874 people registered, according to race director, Peter Shahid.
Tamas Kovacs, a Hungarian attending High Point University in High Point, N.C., set a course record of 14 minutes and 31 seconds. For the second time in as many years, Michelle LaFleur of Savannah, Ga., won the women’s division. Her time was 17 minutes and 2.94 seconds.
The Thanksgiving Day race was first sponsored by Council 704 in 1914, according to the event Web site. In its early stages the race was run from Charleston to Summerville and later changed to a relay race.
In 1950, it was modified to a competitive relay race among local high school track teams. The three-mile, six-man relay races were held at the Battery and at Stoney Field until 1972.
In 1978, Council 704 reinvented the race and it is now a 3.1 mile run with a walk called the Gobble Wobble. It is a competitive race open to all serious or recreational and family-oriented participants, according to the Web site www.turkeydayrun.com.
The event attracts runners and walkers from 25 states. A children’s race was added last year along with prize money for the adult race winners.
The Catholic element is present as Father James Parker begins each race with a blessing. This year the event was dedicated to Freddy W. McMahon, a Knight and the first director of the Turkey Day Run in its present format.
As with all Knights of Columbus fund-raisers, local charitable organizations will benefit from a portion of the race proceeds.