Meghan McLaughlin kicked past Danielle Trelles-Russell to finish second at yesterday's Turkey Trot 5-miler in Alexandria, but she didn't know the winner was an old running rival.
McLaughlin, a 23-year-old Alexandria resident, was cooling down when Dana Coons -- who won in 27 minutes 47 seconds -- trotted up to congratulate her. The runners competed locally in high school and college but didn't know the rivalry would be renewed at the 27th annual race.
"I've been racing Dana since junior high, and it's been back and forth," said McLaughlin, who ran for Marshall High and collegiately for Radford; Coons, 24, ran for Madison High and later the University of Virginia. "I was like, 'It's been so many years, if you win or I win, it doesn't matter.' "
McLaughlin poured it on in the final 30 meters to finish in 29:15. Arlington's Trelles-Russell, 38, finished third in 29:17. Coons, now a coach at Virginia, was planning to run a Thanksgiving day race in Manchester, Conn., but a recent cold kept her from traveling.
"I'm just getting over it, but my legs felt fine -- I'm glad it was nice and flat," she said.
Meantime, Edmund Burke didn't repeat past mistakes against Georgetown Running Company teammate Chris Banks. Burke, 33, set the pace and expanded his lead to win in 24:25, 15 seconds ahead of Banks. Teammates Nick Gramsky of McLean and Eric Keene of Washington were third and fourth, respectively.
Banks beat him at this year's St. Patrick's Day 10K, so Burke knew he couldn't relax.
"I was afraid they were just sitting on me, waiting to out-kick me," said Burke, of Burtonsville.
Banks, 24, recently qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials at the Twin Cities Marathon. But it's become tradition to run the Turkey Trot -- he won last year -- before eating at his parents' home in Springfield.
"It's a pretty good measure of fitness," said Banks, "but it's also a good way to work up an appetite."
Indeed, exercise before indulgence was the order of the day.
"By running this race I can go home and eat and drink with impunity," said Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who finished in 44:40.
For others, running on Thanksgiving is part of an annual family reunion. Lonnie and Dave Schorer of Burke ran with 19 family members spanning four generations -- from 5-month-old Sammy Schorer to 85-year-old Connie Jones.