In 1493, Christopher Columbus searched for a way to commemorate his first year in the New World. When one crisp November morning he awoke in Hispaniola, proclaiming, "I've got a great idea! We shall have an annual Autumnal athletic event!"
"Hey, I hate to interrupt," cautioned a local Arawak chieftain. "But, this sort of thing has already been happening in the area for a while. I mean, you can't just say it was your idea when it has existed here for at least a decade."
"No, it's my idea! I just came up with it!" Columbus insisted. "Also, I just discovered lacrosse, too!"
"'Discovered?'" The Arawak chieftain asked. "Don't you think you're maybe wearing that word out a little bit, Chris?"
Columbus climbed down off his high chair, put his arm around the Arawak chieftain's shoulder, and said, "Hey, man. Can I talk to you over here for a second?"
In the year 1621, the great Pokanoket sachem Massasoit traveled with ninety of his men to the Plymouth Colony for the first Thanksgiving feast. Recently discovered documents indicate that before they ate, Massasoit stood before the hushed crowd and proclaimed, "This food looks rad, you guys, and I'm really, really stoked to eat upon it. But before we do, shouldn't we first run like 2 miles around the neighborhood or something?"
"Bro!" called out Myles Standish of the Plymouth Colony. "Can we run in costumes?"
"Um, yeah, sure," replied Massasoit. "As long as you guys promise not to eventually steal our land and use our likeness for sporting mascots."
"Deal!" They cried out in unison before lacing up their Asics.
In the year 1775, Israel Putnam led his band of Revolutionary soldiers north along the Connecticut coastline, all the while being pursued by King George's Hessian army from the south. It would be a long winter and spirits were low. Old Put said to his men, "Let us stop here for the night. And in the morning, we will run around this peninsula dressed as heathens."
"Will there be considerations for best entrance?" one of the men cried out.
"Sure," said Putnam. "But, you know, please don't show up like 30 seconds before the race starts. By the way, what are you guys going as?"
"Oh, we can't tell you," the soldier cried back. "You're the organizer. You can't know."
In 1863, struggling to keep a fractured nation together, Abraham Lincoln declared a day of national Thanksgiving. "Wouldn't it really be something," Abe pondered to his Secretary of State, Seward, "if we could make a big show of reunion."
"That would have to be something big," replied Seward.
"I'm saying," said Lincoln. "Maybe like a sporting event."
"What do you have in mind?" asked Seward.
"Shit, I don't know, bro," Lincoln pondered. "Does football exist yet?"
"I'm afraid not yet, Mr. President," said Seward.
In 1958, during the height of the cold war, President Eisenhower sought to encourage cardiovascular activity in the electorate, while at the same time keeping fear at an absolute high. "If only they could exercise inside their bomb shelters," thought the 34th President.
But the costs of providing every fallout shelter in the country with treadmills were prohibitively expensive. And so in a showing of great compassion for his repressed citizenry, Ike said, "Why doesn't everyone go for a run before the Lions game or something?
"But, you know, get back to ducking and covering just as soon as you're done," he concluded.
In November of 2001, Johanna Hynes went to wake up her little brother for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner run. 'There ought to be more traditions,' she quite possibly thought to herself.
"Thomas, I need you to wake up and go running with Lizzy and me this morning. I know you were out late last night. I know you're probably hungover. But I really NEED you to do this. It's really so important to me."
And so the Trot began!