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Track club kicks off Thanksgiving with yearly Turkey Trot

By Staff | Nov 25, 2008

The first event was a small gathering, but over the years it turned into a treasured tradition. Much like Thanksgiving itself, the Turkey Trot held in Cape Coral every year has become a staple of the city. As many as 1,600 runners are expected to take part in this year’s Turkey Trot events, which kick off Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at the Cape Coral Hospital. The events, which include a 5-kilometer run, a 5-kilometer walk and a 100-yard Tot Trot, are being organized by the Fort Myers Track Club. But as track club board member and race co-director Tom Murphy points out, the club did not support the idea of a race on Thanksgiving Day when it first came about 29 years ago. “It was started by Mike Hamlin, he was one of the founders of the Fort Myers Track Club. He came to them and said, ‘I’ve got an idea for a race on Thanksgiving,’ and they said, ‘No way,'” Murphy said. But after working with Connie Mack and donating proceeds to the Cape Coral YMCA, Hamlin garnered the support of the club. About 200 people ran in the first Turkey Trot, but now it has blossomed into a premier event. The proceeds this year will go toward the expansion of the Cape Coral Hospital Emergency Room. “The money is specifically for those pediatric rooms. There’s no rooms at Cape Coral Hospital specifically for children, and their emergency room is seeing the same amount of kids as what they see at HealthPark Medical Center,” Murphy said. Murphy added that he expects the event to raise more than $10,000 for the hospital. To sign up for the Turkey Trot at a reduced price, visit the Wellness Center of Cape Coral, located at 609 S.E. 13th Court, today between noon and 6 p.m. The entry fee is $25 but rises to $35 the day of the event. Those interested also can also sign up on the track club’s Web site: www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.’>www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.