You've got to move it, move it

You've got to move it, move it

Marc and Christine Williams of Tolono usually shop on Black Friday.

“It’s something we've done together for many, many years,” Marc Williams said.

This year, though, they’ll spend at least part of the day outside rather than in a store. The couple plans to participate in the Opt Outside Ride sponsored by Champaign Cycle on Nov. 24. They are avid cyclists who are eager to promote bike activities and the outdoors and to support the cycle shop, Williams said. The bike ride will “get us outside and get us moving,” he said.

That’s the idea of Opt Outside, a movement begun by REI in 2015. The retailer closed its stores on Black Friday to give employees the opportunity to be outside with their families. Champaign Cycle followed suit and closed its shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2015.

“We thought it was an interesting idea,” said Champaign Cycle general manager Alex Hegeman-Davis. “It’s community-oriented, getting out and doing something.”

Blog PhotoThe weather that first year was not pleasant and the only riders were the shop’s employees.

Last year, about 15 adults and three children being pulled in trailers participated in the 12-mile ride. The group rode around town and through campus, with a stop for coffee at Art Mart.

Hegeman-Davis said this year’s ride will be similar -- a distance of 10 to 15 miles at a leisurely pace.

“With the opportunity to ride and see some of our cycling friends, this is really appealing to us,” Williams said.

That’s why Art Hess of Rantoul is interested in the ride as well. Unlike Williams, Hess never shops on Black Friday, and usually rides on his own.

“I hate shopping and crowds and would rather be outside and exercise,” he said.

Blog PhotoThe ride begins at 1 p.m. at Champaign Cycle, 506 S. Country Fair Drive, C.

Turkey Trots

There are other opportunities during the week of Thanksgiving for outdoor enthusiasts to get outside for an organized run or walk. The Urbana Park District will hold its 50th annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The tradition includes a 1-mile fun run or walk around Crystal Lake Park, hot chocolate and prize raffles.

It’s a chance for families, friends and neighbors to see each other at the event and exercise and socialize before their own Thanksgiving meals.

Here’s a list of area Turkey Trots:

Saturday, Nov. 18

-- Champaign Central Interact Club 5K Turkey Trot: 5K at Crystal Lake Park, Urbana. Central High School’s Interact Club is sponsoring the race, and all of the proceeds will go to the Crisis Nursery. For more information or online registration, go to

-- Decatur Park District Turkey Trot: 10K and 5K runs, a 5K recreational walk and a ½-mile Turkey Tot Trot at Fairview Park, Decatur. For more information, go to

Sunday, Nov. 19

-- Peoria Park District Turkey Trot: 4-mile race and ½-mile youth fun run at Detweiller Park, Peoria. For more information, go to

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23

-- Urbana Park District Turkey Trot: 1-mile fun run/walk at Crystal Lake Park, with free hot chocolate and prize raffles. Donations go to the Urbana Park District Youth Scholarship Fund. For more information, go to

-- Bare Bones Turkey Trot: non-competitive 5-mile run in Mattoon. For more information, go to

-- Bloomington Parks Turkey Trot: non-competitive 3-mile run, 1½-mile walk and kids’ ½-mile run at Miller Park, Bloomington, with prize raffles. Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts will be collecting nonperishable food items for Home Sweet Home Ministries. For more information, go to

-- Chocolate Turkey 3-miler: 3-mile race in Peoria. Participants get a chocolate turkey, and there is hot chocolate and chocolate fondue after the race. For more information, go to


Jodi Heckel, a writer for the University of Illinois News Bureau, is a runner, swimmer and triathlete. You can email her at, or follow her at Her blog is at


Photos: There are ways to get some extra exercise this holiday season -- from the Urbana Park District's 50th annual Turkey Trot (top photo) on Thanksgiving to Champaign Cycle's Opt Outside Ride (bottom photo) on Black Friday, Nov. 24. News-Gazette file photos

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