Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Which one of the following events should be added to track & field meets in Montana?

The Detroit Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot of 1997, directed by Ed Kozloff of the Motor City Striders, wins a place of honor in the Blooper Hall of Fame for the most runners to go off-course in any race, ever. About 5,000, to be exact. OK, it wasn’t Ed’s fault, but that of a very well-intentioned yet very loud and very misinformed spectator who decided to take matters into her own hands at the two-mile mark.

This annual 10K event takes place in conjunction with a Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit and part of the race runs along the parade route in front of the waiting parade spectators. For some reason, the race had to be slightly altered from the previous years and involved an out-and-back followed by a return to the stablished course. Arrows painted on the street clearly directed the runners where to go once they’d done the out-and-back segment, but they’d also been explicitly instructed by Ed to run through the arrows the first time they passed them.

The runners took their mark and off they went without a problem. Ed began to make his way toward the finish area. He had no sooner crossed the street, however, when someone remarked, "What’s that?" and suddenly there were all the runners, running back toward them and in the wrong direction! As the story later came out, the lead police car had gone through the arrows as instructed, when our spectator began to scream at the runners to follow the painted arrows. Apparently she was so insistent that they all heeded her words. A multitude passed before a race official could catch up and convince her that she had sent thousands of runners into the streets of Detroit without a lead vehicle.

By this time the lead runners were beginning to suspect something was amiss as there was no car or course to follow. A local runner managed to catch up to the leaders and convince them to head back toward the main street where the finish and the parade route were. Good idea, but it failed to account for the thousands of parade-watchers already lining the street in their lawn chairs, coffee cups in hand.

The scene, as Ed describes it, was like a cross between a steeple-chase and a stampede. Hundreds of runners followed the leaders over the waiting spectators and race barricades to get to the finish line.

Well, the city of Detroit had a fit and poor Ed got reams of hate mail, all because of a misguided and overly zealous spectator.

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2000 Meter Steeplechase
3000 Meter Racewalk
5,000 Meter Run
4 x 800 Meter Relay
Weight Throw
Don't add any events

Place your vote NOW!

Current Results (As of December 15, 2006, 9:23 am MST):

20.1% 2000 Meter Steeplechase

4.2% 3000 Meter Racewalk

12.1% 5,000 Meter Run

22.5% 4 x 800 Meter Relay

36.7% Weight Throw

4.5% Don't add any events

Total Votes: 289