30th Annual Turkey Trot 5k draws record crowd
Individuals of all ages, along with many dog breeds filled the parking lot and adjacent areas of the Cape Coral Hospital Thursday morning to participate in the 30th Annual Turkey Trot.
Tom Murphy, past president of the Fort Myers Track Club, who puts on the annual event, said the Turkey Trot attracted the most people they have ever had during this year’s event.
He said there was close to 2,000 people who registered for the event, with 1,251 of those registering online.
The popular 5k run, which is known for its family atmosphere, was overflowing this year with adults and children of all ages, even though it was sprinkling through out the event.
The course, which started at 7:30 Thursday morning, began on 6th Street and Del Prado Blvd. in front of the hospital and continued down SE 6th Street to SE 13th Court and then along residential streets. Participants then crossed the finish line in the back of the Cape Coral Hospital parking lot near the Wellness Center.
Mark Lukasik said he has been participating in the Turkey Trot for the past 15 years. He explained that he has attended the annual event because it is a family event and “I’m the guy who brings the bagels” from the Bagel Factory.
Thanksgiving morning Lukasik was accompanied by his three daughters, all of whom were going to run later that morning in the 100 yard sprint. He said his girls enjoy the Turkey Trot because they get to see all of their friends.
Another participant in the 5k Turkey Trot was Jenna Roberts of Fort Myers.
She said she attended the Turkey Trot last year with her friend, who recently moved up north and could not attend the event this year.
“I’m trying to make it an annual thing. It’s something to do on Thanksgiving.” she said. “It’s a fun thing to do, a hobby to keep you in shape.”
Roberts’ children were also with her to cheer her on during the event.
“It will probably become a family thing when they (her children) get older,” she said.
June Wall and her two daughters also participated in the 30th Annual Turkey Trot. She said she has been participating in the event for the past six or seven years because she and her daughter are runners.
“It’s a great fun event, fun for the whole family,” she said about why she has participated in the event.
Wall said she enjoys attending the event because it provides her a chance to see other runners who she has become friends with over the years.
Her daughter Alex, who is a sophomore at Fort Myers High School is a member of the cross country team, also participated in the event with her mom for the third year.
“I enjoy it,” Alex said about the 5k Turkey Trot.
Victoria, who is 11 years ol,d participated in the event for the first year with her mom and sister. She said she enjoyed the event and she was possibly thinking of maybe becoming a runner like her mom and sister.
Dan and Mary Ellen Schultz of Cape Coral decided to participate in the Turkey Trot for the third year with their three kids.
The Schultz both said they enjoy the Turkey Trot because they like the people and it is a nice wholesome family event for them to enjoy.
“It’s a great way to start Thanksgiving,” they said as their children were still running around them after completing the 5k run.
The funds that were collected from the Turkey Trot will go toward purchasing equipment for the new Weigner Taeni Center for Emergency Services at Cape Coral Hospital’s three new pediatric treatment rooms.
The Fort Myers Track Club has donated almost $20,000 for the new pediatric treatment rooms from last years event. The club has pledged to provide the hospital with $100,000.