Highland Cross Country athletes race to the pumpkin pie


“Pumpkin Plod 10k/ 5k race will begin on Thanksgiving (9/28/19) at 9a.m.” Photo provided by Highland Parks and Recreation Department

Alyssa Johnson, Writer

This year marks the 44th annual Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Plod 10k/ 5k race. With pumpkin pies as prizes for the top three winners of each category, some of Highland’s Cross Country team plans to be in attendance, and not just for the pie. 


“It’s not required for the team, but I would say the majority of the athletes on the team usually compete.” Head coach for the Cross Country team, Rob Lukowski said. “Some take it really seriously, some just do it for fun. But, almost all of them when our season ends, which is the first week of November this year, usually train an extra three of four weeks and pretty much everyone competes.” 


For some of the athletes, this isn’t their first time competing and are looking forward to the upcoming race.


Nicholas Markus, senior, said, “Sometimes it was hard because I would cramp up. I hadn’t usually run that much mileage before, but I feel like this year it’ll probably be easier for me. It’s fun.”


Senior Grace Aurand has been a long time participant in the event, having begun to participate in the fifth grade.


“I love it. I like getting pies,” Aurand said. “I would like to PR (personal record). Last time I broke 42 minutes, so if I could get in the low 41’s, I would be excited.”


For some, like junior Julian Gray, this is their first time competing in the race. 


Gray said, “I feel like it’ll be a really good race, not a really competitive one, but just a good way to stay in shape and have a good time with my friends.”


The Pumpkin Plod takes place on November 28, 2019 and begins on Jewett St. The 10k race begins at 9a.m. The 5k begins at 9:15 a.m, runners and walkers welcome. Registration can be completed online or via mail through November 25 with a fee of $20 for runners and $15 for walkers. Race day registration will take place at Lincoln Center from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and payment must be completed by cash or check only ($30 for runners and $25 for walkers). 


Make mail entries out to: Highland Parks & Recreation 2450 Lincoln St. Highland, IN 46322. Please make all checks and money orders out to Highland Parks & Recreation. Please do not mail cash. Must be postmarked by 11/25. 


All participants will receive a long sleeved cotton shirt which can be picked up on Wednesday, November 27th from 5 p.m. to 9:45 p.m, on race day from 7:30 a.m to 8:45a.m, or will be available through the month of December. 


Awards for the 10k and 5k will take place in the Lincoln Center fieldhouse. The top three males and females in each age division for each distance will be awarded a traditional pumpkin pie and plaques will be awarded to the top male and female overall in each distance. 


Further event information is available through the Highland Parks and Recreation website.