Although they don't recall the exact year the end-of season alumni run began, Bob Rush and Bill Daskavolis know that they are somewhere into their fourth decade of organizing the Crystal Springs Turkey Trot.
Rush an Daskavolis are legends in the world of cross country running in the Bay Area. Rush, who retired from coaching at San Mateo High School and College of San Mateo in 1995, has been the course director, caretaker and race organizer at the Crystal Springs course ever since.
The 5K run, which began in the 1960s as an fun run for runners of all ages and abilities, was held at San Mateo High School. When the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course opened in 1971, the Thanksgiving Day run moved, and the race evolved into an alumni event for cross country runners from Aragon, Hillsdale, Serra and San Mateo high schools.
Bill Daskavolis, now in his 48th year at Aragon High School, recalled the good old days with his buddy Bob Rush. "Bob and I hae been together since '63," recalled Daskavolis.
"We've lost count on how many years we've been doing the Turkey Trot. It's now in its 40th-something year," added Rush.
Although the Turkey Trot still draws from alumni runners from area high schools, it's not closed to anyone who wants to come out, register (no fee), get a hand stamp and take their place on the starting line.
Rush estimated he had over 100 runners this year. The light drizzle and overcast sky made it primo weather for a long distance run. High school buddies lined up together on the starting line and groups of old-timers stretched and jogged in place waiting for Bob Rush to fire the gun.
Once the gun was fired, it was just 15 minutes and 32 seconds before Paul Wellman crossed the finish line in first places. Wellman, it should be noted is an alumnus of Saint Ignatius High School.
Anne Ricketts was the first woman finisher with a time of 19 minutes, 24 seconds.