Locals gobble up 29th Turkey Trot
About 1,700 people braved the 45-degree weather Thursday morning to participate in the 29th annual Turkey Trot at the Cape Coral Hospital.
Entry fees for the 5-kilometer run, 5-kilometer walk and Tot Trot events went toward the expansion of the Cape Coral Hospital Emergency Room.
Runners took warm-up jogs to the starting line and stretched out before the starting gun was fired. Some were clad head-to-toe in track suits, jackets and headbands that covered their ears to guard against the cool temperatures, while others needed only shoes and shorts for the run.
The man who fired the starting gun was Ray Schwab, who has been involved in the Turkey Trot for the last 20 years. He said Thursday that he was pleasantly surprised with the turnout.
“The athletes really mushroomed on us. We expected 1,500 and we got 1,700,” Schwab said.
He added that the event, put on by the Fort Myers Track Club, was well-organized and he applauded the efforts of the volunteers.
“We have a good crew, an excellent crew,” he said.
Michelle Mattia, whose 14-year-old son, Ryan, ran in his first Turkey Trot, agreed.
“It seems very well-organized. You can’t ask for a nicer day,” Mattia said as she waited for Ryan near the finish line.
The runners began their race at Southeast Sixth Street and Del Prado Boulevard in front of the Cape Coral Hospital, heading toward Southeast 13th Court. After a jaunt through some residential streets, the runners returned to the Cape Coral Hospital parking lot near the Wellness Center.
Breathing heavily, with their hands placed variously on top of their heads or crouched over on top of their knees, runners were directed to bottled water after crossing the finish line.
When the normal flow of oxygen returned and the heavy breathing subsided, they were treated to a runner’s Thanksgiving morning banquet of bagels, cookies, oranges, bananas and orange juice.
One of the runners enjoying a snack was Dan Rams, who participated in his third Turkey Trot.
“This is my best time. When I came across (the time) was 24:10,” said Rams, a four-year Cape resident.
“I like to run to keep in shape, plus I know (the entry fee) goes toward the hospital,” he added before taking his 1-year-old son, Logan, to take part in the Tot Trot.
Organizers said about $10,000 was raised for the expansion of the hospital’s emergency room.