Article by Taylor Perkins
Before families gather around their dining room tables to share meals and stories, some decide to start their mornings a little earlier. The Turkey Trot is a 5K run/walk charity event that has been gaining popularity nationwide. According to a study done by Running USA, participation in races on Thanksgiving now outnumber those on Fourth of July.
Turkey Trots are held all over the nation. The Springfield Turkey Trot is on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23) at 8 a.m. The race begins and ends at the Springfield Expo Center located downtown.
People may sign up for Turkey Trots for a variety of reasons. Some want to create a bit more of a calorie deficit before heading into their Thanksgiving meals.
“My favorite part about the Turkey Trot [last year] was knowing that I ran three miles so I could justify the enormous amounts of foods that I ate,” said senior Katie Larson.
She said that it was cool to see so many people come together just to run, especially since running is not always considered a fun activity.
“I also love the dogs that all are all dressed up, you can’t go wrong with that,” Larson said.
The races allow people to burn off some potential excess calories but also collect canned food items for food pantries in support of those who cannot always supply dinner for their families.
The race directors ask that participants bring five nonperishable food items which will go to the Ozarks Food Harvest. According to the Parkboard the Springfield Turkey Trot is the “largest 5K run/walk of the year and the largest Thanksgiving Day 5K in Missouri.” Because of this event it serves as a large food drive for the OFH, where over 6,500 meal items were collected last year.
Furthermore, the money raised from this event goes to the Developmental Center of the Ozarks and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund, according to the Parkboard.
Larson originally started running because she was really active in high school and she wanted an outlet in college.
“I wanted a cheap way to be physically active that I didn’t have to rely on other people to plan around,” Larson said.
She convinced herself to go for a run around her neighborhood in order to train for the 5K.
“I came back afterwards and complained about how awful it was to my mom. Her response was, ‘some people just aren’t made to run.’ I took this as a challenge and I signed up for a race the next day to prove her wrong. Ever since, it’s been a good stress relief,” said Larson.
For more information, check out the Springfield Turkey Trot Facebook page or website. If you sign up before the race online it is $20 with an online processing fee of $3.25. You can also register on the morning of, but plan to get there early because sign ups are only from 6-7:15 a.m.