Molly Seidel reacts as she crosses the finish line during the Women's U.S. Olympic marathon team trials on Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
Visitors to Maine’s Great Cranberry Island on Thanksgiving morning might catch a glimpse of a turkey hotfooting it down the road, perhaps trailed by a couple of cranberries.
The moveable feast will be part of the Peachtree Road Race, a 10K traditionally held on the Fourth of July in Atlanta.
When the race was pushed back to Thanksgiving due to the pandemic and then went virtual, Molly Seidel decided to break out her famous turkey costume.
“I want to be the Fastest Known Turkey,” said Seidel, who qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic team in the marathon.
Actually, turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hour.
“Oh shoot,” Seidel said. “I’ll be the fastest known turkey impersonator.”
As casually as some people dress a turkey, Seidel dresses as a turkey. She did it the first time when she was fresh off winning the 2015 NCAA cross country title for Notre Dame. “That was such a big, intense experience,” said the 26-year-old Wisconsin native, who also won three NCAA titles on the track, “that it seemed like a lot of fun to just go out and run a race while wearing a children’s turkey costume.”
With Seidel donning feathers, her sister Izzy was decked out as an elf for the small Wisconsin race. “We show up and all these other people are there to race-race and we’re the only ones in costume,” Seidel said.
On Thanksgiving Day 2016, she was top turkey – as well as top female finisher – in the Berbee Derby in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, with a time of 34 minutes, 29 seconds.
While passing a male runner, Seidel overheard one of his friends on the sideline tell him, “Oh, you just got passed by a turkey. And it’s a girrrrrl.”
“A guy getting passed by a girl is called being chicked,” Seidel said. “There’s few things that bring me more joy than getting to chick guys while I’m wearing a costume.”
Being a turkey chick made it even better.
Seidel has also dressed as a Frenchman running with a loaf of bread for a Bastille Day race in Milwaukee and she wore a doughnut costume on the track for National Doughnut Day.
But it’s her Turkey Day task that has attracted national attention in a country hungry for uplifting stories.
Seidel said it’s “super fitting” that her turkey trot takes place on the serendipitously-named Great Cranberry Island. She’ll be joined by Izzy, who ran collegiately for Northwestern, and a few friends. Sadly, most of the costumes they ordered – all Thanksgiving staples – did not arrive in time except for the cranberries.
Because the island is only 2 miles long, “We’re going to go on the main road and just run back and forth,” Seidel said.
This begs the question: What does it feel like to run in a turkey costume?
“It’s not comfortable by any means,” Seidel said. “It’s not very breathable. It’s made of felt and the wind just cuts right through you. So, it’s very cold, but at the same time really clammy.
“There is a reason why most running outfits aren’t made out of felt.”