The 14th annual Ultimate Fitness Turkey Trot was held in memory of Gary Gibbs, a former Deming High School football coach and physical fitness trainer who passed away this year following a brief illness. That first year there were around 250 that took part and it has grown to around 450 runners and walkers.
This was the 19 annual 5k race hosted by the Naperville Noon Lions Club, raising funds that help local people in need get sight and hearing assistance.
“(Lord) thank you for all the people who have come out to run to celebrate, also to all those who have given to (All Things New) Orphanage”, said Hollis Hand Principal Jack Morman, in a dedication prayer before the race.
“My legs hurt a little bit, I’ve been standing for a while, but I feel good and ready to eat some turkey and get on with Thanksgiving”, said Whitelaw.
There were four, 25 pound frozen turkeys hidden along the running path. Numerous participants in the kids’ run are students there. “It’s a good time to get out in the morning before we start watching football and eating food and to have a good time with the family”.
The Turkey Trot features a 5K, a 10K and a one-mile fun run.
“I’m not gonna have fear in me right now, just gonna go for it in the race”, one participant said.
Orchestra Director Eric Marta said, “It’s really great to have the support of the community”. With 100 more runners this year, they’re hoping that will increase. In the past 5 years, organizers have collected entry fees, and they say they’ve used that money to give out almost $50,000 in college scholarships.
The top three overall male runners all broke the course record, with East Tennessee State University graduate student Austin Whitelaw coming in with the best time at 14:43, meeting his personal goal of breaking 15 minutes.
Matt McDonald of Atlanta, Georgia was the overall victor of this year’s event with a time of 14:49:36 and the women’s champion was Michelle Sumner of Annandale with a time of 17:52:61. “I’ve already run it twice this year”, he said.