Sargent At Arms
Thanksgiving Day Race stalwart Joe Sargent has run the race 40 consecutive times since 1973. That's right, 40. We asked him for his thoughts about the race, and what keeps him running.
Q1. Are you originally from Cincinnati?
I'm not from Cincy. I've always lived in the Dayton, Ohio area; currently in Washington Township. Although, we did summer while growing up near New Richmond on a houseboat on the river.
Q2. How old were you during your first TDR?
My first Thanksgiving Day Race came at the age of 15 with my dad and brother in 1973 when we ran from St. Luke's Hospital in Fort Thomas through various shady neighborhoods to across the L & N railroad bridge and finished on Central Avenue at the Elks Lodge.
Q3. Have you ever missed a year?
I haven't missed any yet. About four years ago I even ran it with a very painful meniscus tear.
Q4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did it hurt to run the race with a torn meniscus?
The meniscus tear reached a scale of 10 on the way up the last bridge. At that point it felt like a screwdriver was being pushed through my knee.
Q5. What keeps you so dedicated to running?
The dedication to running comes from what it gives back to my spirit in the way of freedom. Of course, it didn't hurt that I was involved in the business of running until a year ago for 30 years.
Q6. Sounds like the race is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
I have no other Thanksgiving traditions.
Q7. Do you really have no other Thanksgiving traditions?!
I really don't have any other Thanksgiving traditions. What better tradition could one have had in 1998 than pushing their 4 year-old son on Thanksgiving Day in the Baby Jogger from Latonia Shopping Center to the Convention Center? That's family time and that's what matters most in life!
Q8. What's your favorite part of the race?
My favorite part of the race is twofold. First, being tall enough to see the sea of participants at the start is awe inspiring. Second, being able to run and see from "street level" the architecture and terrain of the of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky areas.
Q9. What's your favorite race memory?
My favorite memory of this race is being able to share my participation in this historic event with my wife, son, father, mother, sister, brother, brother-in-law and tens of thousands of other participants that all become like family on Thanksgiving morning.
Q10. What are you looking forward to most this year?
What I'm looking forward to the most this year is the new part to the course. I've been over at least 6 courses over the years and I never tire of seeing a new area when partaking in my favorite leisure activity....running.
Q11. What's your advice for those who may be considering participating in this year's race, but haven't committed yet?
If you are on the fence about participating in this year's event, just announce to some friends or family that you are going to do the event. That vocal confirmation shall be your total commitment to joining thousands of other people doing the right thing on Thanksgiving morning. Also, don't worry about your pace or looking slow; your participation is all that we desire of you! Oh yeah, you'll have fun also.