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Many people plan to overeat, nap, and watch football on Thanksgiving Day. However, more than 2,000 people in Grand Rapids will also run a 5K on this national holiday.
On Nov. 28, the 21st annual Turkey Trot 5K race will take place in Grand Rapids. The event is organized by Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) along with the City of Grand Rapids.
Nick Kampmueller, the financial/events coordinator for the GRPS athletic department, said the Turkey Trot is essential to GRPS athletics.
“The race promotes exercise and good nutrition,” Kampmueller said. “It is also one of our main fundraisers [for GRPS athletics].”
Kampmueller said that many other public schools in Michigan are having their student athletes “pay to play,” meaning each student wishing to play a sport pays a fee in order to support the costs of the sport.
“This fundraiser allows us to keep our athletics free for our students,” Kampmueller said, “allowing students to play sports without a fee.”
Three years ago, more than 1000 people ran the Turkey Trot. Last year, more than 2000 participated. This year, race organizers hope more than 3000 people participate in the race, Kampueller said.
Kampmueller said that the race committee tries to make the event fun for the whole family. Race day will include a “mini trot,” a shorter race for children. Children will receive a prize for finishing the race, and will finish the race inside the stadium, like the rest of the registered runners.
Kampmueller also believes that the race promotes a “happy and healthy community.”
Martin Avila, a Calvin College alum, is participating in the race for the first time this year. He believes the event is a good opportunity for Grand Rapids citizens.
“I think it is a good way to get exercise and stay healthy,” Avila said, “especially on a day when so many people eat so much Thanksgiving Day food.”
More than 400 people have already registered for the event. Participants can register online or mail in a registration form and check. Each registered participant will receive a t-shirt.
An awards ceremony will be held following the race. The ceremony will recognize the first, second, and third place runners for each age division.
Registration costs $25 up through Nov. 27. Day-of registration cost is $30. The race will begin in front of the Van Andel Arena at 8 a.m. The “mini-trot” will begin at 8:40 a.m. and has no registration fee.
All of the proceeds from funds raised by the Turkey Trot will go to the GRPS’s athletic department.