With 27 marathons under his belt and more than 500 race wins to his name, you could say running is more than just exercise for Danny White; it’s a lifestyle.
It’s also his livelihood. White, 59, is the man behind Marion, S.C.-based RMS Sports, which puts on the annual Charlotte SouthPark Turkey Trot. The iconic local race turns 30 this Thanksgiving Day, and will feature a 1-mile run, a 5K, an 8K, and a 26.2-year Tot Trot for kids. White chatted with us about the event and its legacy. Edited for brevity and clarity.
Why is the race in the SouthPark neighborhood?
SouthPark Mall was in the beginning of its development and was trying to bring people into the area to show them what was going on.
How has the race changed?
In the first year, we had 400 people. It’s gone back and forth between 8,000 and 10,000 the last three years. Now, we get people from all 50 states.
Are you doing anything special for the race’s 30th year?
We’re having a very special medal done this year for all participants. We’re also recognizing the people who have participated in the most Turkey Trots. I have people who have run 25 or 26 of them. And we have a new twist to the race—it’s called the Tuff Turkey Challenge. You run an 8K at 8:30 a.m., then a 5K at 9:30 a.m., and we combine your times.
How have you been able to sustain the event as the area has changed?
I’ve been blessed with a lot of good relationships with the city of Charlotte, the mall, Simon Properties, and some of our other sponsors. But I certainly don’t take credit for the whole thing. It’s taken all these people in the community who have come together and helped this whole thing happen. People in the community—especially in the homeowners association—do yard decorations, set up water stations, and started a tailgating community in the parking lots.
Want to join in this year’s event? Visit charlotteturkeytrot.racesonline.com.
Head by Observer file photo