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November 23, 2012

Knoxville man actually trots entire turkey trot

A 26-year-old Knoxville man is feeling somewhat awkward today after he literally trotted a turkey trot in West Knoxville.

Nicholas Hamrick of Fountain City was queuing up at the starting line to take part in yesterday's annual adult Knoxville Turkey Trot 5K when he burst into a full speed trot, according to witnesses at the scene. Observers were baffled by the unusual running stance, which resembled the gait of a horse or other four-hoofed animal.

"It was a little odd," said Ashleigh Booth. "He was acting like a horse. I thought maybe he had diarrhea or something. But he might have just been a really weird person."

Debbie Kirkpatrick, one of the event's organizers, has seen every Turkey Trot and has never seen someone run the race in such an odd fashion.

"Participation has been great since we started doing this 10 years ago," she said. "This year we had about 500 runners, which makes this one of our best years. But no one has ever actually trotted. I'm definitely sure about that."

In point of fact, Hamrick's unusual running style worked in his favor. He came in third place in the Turkey Trot with a time of 17:30, prompting some to question the legality of trotting a turkey trot.

"Look, I'm all in favor of trotting," said runner Todd Westley. "But this offered him a sizeable advantage. Horses trot faster than people run. For all we know, he's been injecting himself with horse DNA for weeks now. He's no better than Lance Armstrong in my mind."

Others expressed concern over the safety of sharing a race with a man who might in fact be a centaur.

"A little girl offered him an apple, but I pulled her away," said Kristi Crumpton, whose husband runs the race each year. "I was afraid he would try to bite her. Horse people are so unpredictable. And they attract flies."

Hamrick insists he wasn't trying to cheat, but that he simply misunderstood the purpose of the race.

"I assumed trotting was part of the rules," he said. "It's not called a turkey run. I figured everyone else just didn't get the memo."

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