CHAMPION - Kip Minnick so badly wanted to run the Turkey Trot Thursday morning, but his body just wouldn't let him.
So he walked it, mostly.
There toward the finish line of the 2-mile fun run, Minnick and those walking with him quickened their pace ''so we could jog across the finish line.''
More than 2,700 people ran or walked Thursday morning in the 34th annual Turkey Trot at Kent State University at Trumbull in Champion. Here, a mass of walkers trail runners up the hill on Educational Highway to circle Trumbull Career and Technical Center in the 2-mile event.
Minnick has been running for most of his 67 years. He ran the one-mile at James A. Garfield High School in Garrettsville in the late 1950s early 1960s as a track athlete and then ''I used to run home from track,'' he said. He's run about 30 Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot races, 26 marathons and more than 800 races total; it's natural that he would want to run Thursday.
In fact, this was the first of all those Turkey Trots Minnick took part in that he didn't run. The cancer for so long the Braceville man had been able to outrun is now starting to catch up with him.
''I ran with mesothelioma, but it kind of held me back this year,'' said Minnick, who finished the walk in about 37 minutes.
Mesothelioma is a disease primarily caused by the exposure to asbestos, affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen, according to the Mesothelioma.com website.
It didn't hamper him doing the sport he called ''the truest sport there is,'' until recently.
Minnick, a retired ''gandy dancer,'' a person who laid railroad tracks, which he did at the old Copperweld Steel, was diagnosed with the cancer about 12 years ago.
He continued to run and run well after the diagnosis. For instance, he ran the two-mile race last year in about 18 minutes and the Jingle Bell Run in Canfield last year in about 26 minutes, but it was what happened after that race that caused him to rethink running anymore.
Minnick became ill, to the point where ''I thought I was going to die,'' he said.
Minnick, recognizable by the Greek fisherman's hat he always wears and long, white hair that pokes out from beneath it, said he takes medication to soothe the pain. On Thursday, to walk the Turkey Trot, he said laughing that he took a ''double dose.''
Running, ''one of the best exercises there is,'' has been one of Minnick's obsessions for decades. The other is painting.
Running, he said, can be done by anyone pretty much anywhere and, it's relatively inexpensive.
''Running has been great, I love running,'' he said. ''I think it's the truest sport there is.''