Growing up in Gettysburg, Todd Jones surely knows plenty about Abraham Lincoln.
But surely Honest Abe did Jones no favor when 0ur 16th president asked for a day of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November in 1863.
The reason is that date, now an official holiday, denied Jones a first-place trophy in Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day Community 5K Turkey Trot at New Oxford.
Jones, a professor of philosophy on a one-year sabbatical from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, had easily won the 10-kilometer portion of last weekend’s Twisted Turkey Trail Tussle trail run near Fairfield.
So, when he showed up on Thursday at New Oxford Elementary School, he instantly became one of the favorites, especially in his age group.
Except one Philip Sumner never got the memo. By finishing sixth, Sumner, 45, won the men’s ages 45-49 group.
That gets us back to President Lincoln, the Great Emancipator and author of the Gettysburg Address who figured Thanksgiving should be on a particular Thursday.
Thanksgiving, celebrated this year on Nov. 22, came up one day before Jones’ birthday – his 50th birthday, in fact. That means Jones had to compete in the ages 45-49 group on Thursday. By finishing 13th, Jones placed seven spots and 72 seconds behind Sumner.
Wait one day, and Jones would have dominated the ages 50-54 group, whose winning time was 19:08, 33 seconds slower than Jones’ effort.
Even so, Jones was surprised to learn he had taken second in his age group, beaten by a 45-year-old from Gardners who won the David Tome Memorial Run in Spring Grove two years ago.
But all Jones had to think about was that, with just one additional day, he would have reigned among his peers.
And that brought a smile.