Oceanside CA— Each year, as Thanksgiving gets closer, Collin Jarvis, the former Rancho Buena Vista High track and cross country star, starts thinking about one of his favorite races.
“It’s one of the biggest races hosted in the area where I grew up, it’s competitive and it’s fun,” Jarvis said. “The Oceanside Turkey Trot is a tradition for us. It gives me the chance to run with family and friends.”
That tradition is only part of the story for Jarvis. He led RBVHS to two San Diego Section cross country championships, and finished second in the state in the 3,200-meters in 2009. In 2013, while leading the UC Berkeley track team to frequent victories – including winning the 3,000-meter Pac-12 steeplechase title, with an amazing 8:47.82 time – Jarvis was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic disease wherein the innermost lining of the intestine becomes inflamed and ulcers form. Jarvis was told he would need to wear a colostomy bag.
The condition didn’t stop him from competing, though. He’s remained a top-class runner, with several Turkey Trot races seeing him finish at or near the top, including winning the 5k in 2012 with a time of 14:57. Jarvis placed second in the 2014 5 Mile with a time of 26:16, just behind the course record holder Darren Brown, who finished in 25:05.
“It’s been a long road but I’ve had the support of so many people,” Jarvis said. “When I was sick, there was an element of the unknown. I felt so incapacitated. But as I grew stronger, I realized it wasn’t the illness that could stop me, it was only me who could do that. I made the decision not to stop, but to keep running.”
Jarvis completed his degree in Media Studies at Cal in 2015. He now serves as Vice President of Marketing Operations for StealthBelt, a company that makes osmotic belts that fit securely and discreetly. Jarvis also founded Hurdle Barriers LLC, a company dedicated to helping and motivating people with medical conditions. He also spends much of his time encouraging young athletes who face physical challenges to push forward with their dreams. He’s a spokesperson for the United Ostomy Associations of America, and frequently speaks to other young athletes with conditions similar to his. He advises making a reasonable plan for the future, then implementing it.
“I was diagnosed when I was 21, I can only imagine what it would be like to get the same diagnosis at age 9 and still have the will to move forward and compete as an athlete,” he said. “As much as I’ve tried to inspire people, I’ve been even more inspired by them.”
Attitude is essential, he said.
“Sometimes there’s not a medical element to obstacles, it’s just about perseverance,” he said. “We all face obstacles, it’s how we handle them that defines our future.”
Kathy Kinane, founder and director of the Turkey Trot, says Jarvis has served as an inspiration.
“It’s exciting to see Collin and his family every year,” she said. “He gives hope to people who have faced obstacles. Collin represents what is best about our race, the chance to team family and friends with physical activity, and enjoy the day.”
More than 9,000 runners and walkers from 46 states are expected to participate in the 12th Annual Pacific Marine Credit Union O’side Turkey Trot and kids run set for Thanksgiving Day, November 23. The event is presented by Tri-City Medical Center and will also feature a Senior 1 Mile on Wed. Nov. 22, for runners 65 and older.
10k run and 5K run/walk will kick off at 6:55 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. respectively, starting on historic Highway 101 at the Civic Center (located at 330 N. Coast Highway) and finishing on The Strand just south of the iconic Oceanside Pier. A 5K walk begins at 8:45 a.m. All races feature live entertainment along the courses.
The family-oriented event also includes one- to ¼-mile kids runs starting at 10:30 a.m., and a 3-day expo. New this year, the O’side Trot will have a $1,000 Costume Contest prize purse.
Runners and walkers can also form family or company teams. More than 50 teams participated in the 2016 event.
New this year, the top 10 teams with the most members receive $100 gift certificates from 333 Pacific, a steak and seafood restaurant in Oceanside. Older runners are invited to participate in the Tri-City Medical Center Senior Mile the day before Thanksgiving.
Entrants can designate part of their entry fees to support local schools and non-profits. The PMCU O’side Turkey Trot has raised more than $270,000 for its participating charities.
For more information, to register or to volunteer, please visit www.osideturkeytrot.com or call (760) 434-5255.