Run’ucopia celebrates Thanksgiving in sneakers

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Run’ucopia celebrates Thanksgiving in sneakers

4:45 p.m. PST November 26, 2015

For the Simes, Thanksgiving is about family.

But they don’t just gather at their Salem home for a large, loving meal. They run … a lot.

Bill Sime, his wife, his 82-year-old father, and his three daughters, plus one of the daughters’ boyfriend and a neighbor, ran in the Run’ucopia race on Thanksgiving.

The Run’ucopia, which held a kids’ 1k and 5k, 10k, and 15k races Thursday morning, is an annual tradition for many in Salem.

Music played from the announcer’s truck near the finish line and racers were given hot apple cider and hot chocolate as they finished.

Some racers wore Thanksgiving-themed hats, some brought their dogs, and others just came to support their friends and family.

“It’s a great way to start Thanksgiving,” said Bill Sime, 59.

His father, Keith Sime, agreed, saying, “Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to all those who have gone before us and have made the country what it is today.”

Both men have been running for years and whether or not they participate in a formal race, the family goes out every Thanksgiving for a run.

The two also ran the 2015 Boston Marathon together. “Very few people will have the experience,” Bill Sime said. “It’s just very special.”

Race coordinator Britt Sexton first organized the racing event in 2011 under the Run in Salem organization.

“Salem didn’t have [a Thanksgiving Day race] before,” he said. “I wanted to make a great Salem event for people who love running and to get new runners going.”

Sexton said the event hit a record number of participants, with approximately 619 runners this year, up from about 436 runners last year.

Though the registration money did not benefit a particular charity, Sexton said participants were encouraged to donate to the Run in Salem charity partners, Network Exchange Club and the E.S.C.A.P.E. Child Abuse Prevention Program.

The race will expand next year when the bridge construction is complete, according to Sexton. It will be the first year that Minto-Brown Island park will be part of the track.

Greg Coughlan, 46, has participated in the Run’ucopia three times.

He ran the 10k in 38 minutes and 21 seconds.

“Running is my medicine,” he said. “I run about 30 miles a week — I love it.”

Coughlan has also won three gold medals in the Deaflympics and teaches at the Oregon School for the Deaf.

He was looking forward to running, and then heading home to relax and eat a lot of turkey.

npate@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate 

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