Hundreds of runners are set to take part in the 38th Annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.
Hosted by the Fort Myers Track Club, the event features a 5K, 1-Mile Fun Run and Tot Trot, with registration opening at 6 a.m. at the Wellness Center – Cape Coral. The event proceeds will benefit the club’s youth scholarships and the construction of the Cape Coral Hospital’s Pathway to Discovery.
“All of our races, the net proceeds go to one charity or another,” JeAnne Hertel, vice president of the Fort Myers Track Club, said. “This one goes to the expansion of the Pathway to Discovery – part of the proceeds go to that – and the rest of the proceeds go to our youth and scholarship fund.”
Last year, the event raised an estimated $30,000.
“Participant-wise we were just under 2,100,” she said. “We’re trending above that this year.”
As of the 2017 goal, the club hopes to see those figures improve.
“There are a lot of choices in the area for turkey trots,” Hertel said. “Ours is for charity, and we really like to see the participation – our goal is really to raise money for those charities.”
The 5K Run/Walk will kick off at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Fun Run at 8:45 a.m.
“The 5K is open to both adults and youth. A lot of people run that as a family,” she said. “We allow walkers. We really try to keep it a fun family-friendly thing.”
The route will weave through the nearby neighborhood.
“It’s a fairly fast course,” Hertel said. “It is a 3.1-mile certified course.”
There are no age limits for the Fun Run either.
“Typically, it is younger participants. Kids who can’t necessarily do the 5K,” she said, adding that senior citizens who also cannot do the 5K will take part in the shorter one-mile event, too.
Scheduled for 9:15 a.m., the Tot Trot will wrap up the fundraiser.
“It’s about a 100-meter dash,” Hertel said. “It’s pretty much for the toddlers.”
All participants will get a Tech T-shirt, along with a continental breakfast and drinks.
“Also, the foundation puts together nice little goodie bags,” she said.
For the 5K, awards will be given to the top five finishers in 17 age categories, both male and female. Awards will also go to the top male and female in overall, master, grand master and senior grandmaster.
“And the oldest male and oldest female,” Hertel said.
The Fun Run and Tot Trot participants will each receive a finisher ribbon.
In addition, the following finishers will take home a pumpkin pie:
* First place in each 5K division (male and female)
* First place in the Fun Run (male and female)
* Three best Thanksgiving/turkey-themed costumes
“We used to do this years ago and it kind of went away,” she said. “We thought, ‘It’s kind of fun and it is Thanksgiving, so why not do that again?'”
There will also be a free photo booth and free race day photos.
Hertel explained that the club has teamed up for a handful of photographers, who will be set up throughout the course. The chipped BIBs will enable the photos to be uploaded to Facebook.
“Anybody who would like it, we will post their photos on their Facebook page,” she said.
As for the photo booth, there will be holiday props.
“We bring in a little blowup turkey,” Hertel said. “That was real popular last year.”
The 5K is $30 or $40 day of for adults, and $20 or $40 day of for children ages 17 and under.
The 1-Mile Fun Run is $15, while Tot Trot is $5.
A packet pickup will be held today from noon to 6 p.m. at the center.
The club encouraged the public to register and take part.
“I think, in general, the experience and the crowd is one of the things that’s such a draw,” she said.
For more information or to register online, visit www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.
The Wellness Center – Cape Coral is at 609 S.E. 13th Court.