Prepare for Donner Lake’s Turkey Trot |

Prepare for Donner Lake’s Turkey Trot

The 31st Turkey Trot and brand-new Mashed Potato Mile are just around the corner.

The Turkey Trot is a 7-mile fun run around Donner Lake originally started by Truckee local Peter Werbel.

“The race was originally started to give people a chance to get together for one last run before the snow came in,” Werbel said.

However, that hasn’t always been the case.

While there have been some blue bird days for the Turkey Trot, it has also been run in the rain, sleet, snow and a combination of all three.

For the first race, “the temperature at the start was right around 25 degrees and it was snowing,” Werbel recalled.

The weather wasn’t the only interesting part of the first Turkey Trot.

Bob Woodliff and Guy Ealey, the first- and second-place overall finishers, took a wrong turn and were almost two minutes up Donner Pass before they realized the error of their ways. Detour aside, Woodliff and Ealey still finished ahead of the field with times of 43:35 and 44:10, respectively.

Additionally, of the 96 racers who started, one woman was lured away from the race by the sight of her warm house on the south shore of the lake.

Throughout the years the Turkey Trot has grown and shrunk, but many aspects of the race have stayed the same. Turkeys and pumpkin pies are still raffled off at the end of the race, though the beer and wine have fallen by the wayside, replaced by two new Sony MP3 players and free passes to Sugar Bowl.

Werbel is still involved with the race and still participates every year, although the majority of the planning has shifted to the Auburn Ski Club and local running enthusiast Mark Cardin. New this year is the inclusion of the Mashed Potato Mile, a shorter race for children and novice runners.

This year’s race will be run on Sunday, rain or shine. Proceeds benefit the Auburn Ski Club Junior Nordic program.

Race registration begins at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of West End Beach. Registration is a $10 suggested donation for adults and $5 for kids. No one will be turned away.

The race begins at 10:30 a.m., though those wishing to walk the course are welcome to start any time after 9 a.m. Strollers are welcome; pets are not.

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