Instead of staying home and cooking Thanksgiving dinner, runners and walkers from over 30 states came to Valparaiso High School for the 11th annual Turkey Trot.
The Turkey Trot, always on Thanksgiving morning, has been the largest race in Northwest Indiana with over 3,000 people participating for each of the last two years. This year saw approximately 3,800 runners, walkers, and pets participating in the 5K and 10K run/walks.
Porter-Starke Services has been the main sponsor of the event for four years, but other businesses contribute as well including Martin Binder Jeweler, Porter Regional Hospital, Extra Mile Fitness, and Harris Bank.
Top runners were awarded with a medal and swag bag, which included a voucher for a free Pulsar watch, valued $150, from Martin Binder Jewelers.
According to Elliot Miller, Porter-Starke’s Director of Marketing and Development, the Turkey Trot is a great time for the community to come together.
“The Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to come together and bond,” Miller said. “Some individuals walk, and that’s 50 minutes that a person is stuck with another person. They get to bond then create a family tradition.”
Runner Mary Williams, who has run in the Turkey Trot five times, set her personal record of 58:23 for a 10K, and thinks that it is a great way to start the holiday off.
“The Turkey Trot is a great way to start a holiday with family and friends,” Williams said. “It is also a good reason to train in cold weather!”
Running was not the only event going on though. After the races, a costume contest was held and the winners won a pumpkin pie. Winning costumes included turkeys, Indians and pilgrims.
All proceeds of the event were donated to support mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention programming in Northwest Indiana.
“Each runner in a way did something to support a good cause,” Miller said. “We have been very fortunate for all of the runners and volunteers we get.”