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Turkey Trot: Annual 5K ushers in holiday season

By Staff | Nov 21, 2019

Looking for a morning workout before indulging in all of the delectables Thanksgiving has to offer?

The 40th annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk, put on by the Fort Myers Track Club and Lee Health, will take place at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral on Nov. 28, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

There will be a 1-mile Fun Run and Tot Trot following the 5K for kids to let loose as well.

“Since Thanksgiving ushers in the holiday season, there a lot of happy and excited faces,” said Vice President of FMTC JeAnne Hertel of the atmosphere each Thanksgiving morning. “Many participants dress up in Thanksgiving- themed costumes, making it entertaining for all participants and even race organizers. We even offer awards for the best Thanksgiving-themed costume. Lee Health provides a great spread of food and beverages to kick off the holiday eating and our roaming turkey likes to pose for pictures and cheer on the runners, walkers and tot trotters.”

Proceeds from the Turkey Trot will benefit the Wellness Path at Cape Coral Hospital, as part of the future Pathway to Discovery, as well as the FMTC Youth and Scholarship programs.

The FMTC has pledged $50,000 in proceeds to the Wellness Path, having contributed to the cause for a number of years now.

They also grant a scholarship to a senior who is a member of FMTC, who has logged many volunteer hours and is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.

The scholarship fund is in memorial of Billy Shevach, who passed away at the age of 23 in 1992.

He was a top performer of the local track club and a vital member of the 1985 Fort Myers Green Wave cross country state championship team.

“Giving back to the community in which the event takes place is what makes it special,” Hertel said. “Anyone in the community can use the Wellness Path as part of their daily exercise plan.

“The FMTC was founded in 1978 to promote health and fitness. Health and fitness lead to wellness, a better life and better community. Giving back to our community and youth in a way that perpetuates a healthy lifestyle is why we were founded.”

The trot brings people together from all across the country, as Hertel said many participants are here to visit family and to maybe get a reprieve from the cold weather. For some, it has become a Thanksgiving tradition.

“This event is special since most participate with family or friends or both,” Hertel said. “For many, this is the only 5K they do throughout the year, so it has simply become part of a Thanksgiving tradition. The event attracts competitive runners to casual walkers and all are welcome. A significant number of the participants come from out of state — even out of the country — to visit family for the holiday or escape to a warmer climate. It is unique to have such geographically diverse crowd participating and sharing Thanksgiving morning.”

FMTC expects nearly 2,000 entrants across all of the races.

Pre-registration entry fees are: 5K; $25/ $20 for members, $15 for youth/ $12 for youth members.

After Nov. 25, it is $30 / $24 for members, $20 youth / $15 youth members.

Race day registration is $40 for adults and youth.

The Fun Run is $15 / $12 members and the Tot Trot is $5.

Registration and packet pick-up will be held today, Nov. 22, from noon to 5 p.m. at Snyderman’s Shoes in Fort Myers; Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Run Florida in Fort Myers and Wednesday, Nov. 27, from noon to 6p.m. at Cape Coral Hospital Wellness Center.

A turkey mascot will be gobbling around for the kids and there will be a photo booth that can provide lasting memories of a fun holiday morning.

Nearly two decades in, FMTC works hard to keep the event going, and said that it is driven by the community.

Overall awards will be given out for top male and female runners, top male and female masters, grandmasters and senior grandmasters.

Winners in each 5K division, male and female, will receive a pumpkin pie.

The three best turkey or Thanksgiving themed costumes also will receive a pumpkin pie.

For more information and registration, visit www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.

Cape Coral Hospital Wellness Center is at 609 SE 13th Court.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj