It was still a few degrees below freezing when runners began darting through Manito Park on Thursday morning, hats shaped like turkeys and pumpkin pies bobbing on their heads.
The annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, hosted by the Bloomsday Road Runners Club, drew thousands of people to the park for a casual, untimed 3-mile run.
Serious runners led the pack on a course that snaked from Mirror Pond to the Japanese Garden, south toward 25th Avenue and north toward 17th.
Others walked or jogged, many accompanied by their dogs. Families and friend groups coordinated costumes, most of them Thanksgiving-themed.
“We’ve run before, just not on Thanksgiving,” said Karen Parrow, of Kalama, Washington, who was in Spokane to visit family for the holiday. She and Steve Osgood donned matching beanies with cartoonish turkey eyes and beaks sewn onto them.
“It’s fun to get out and get some exercise before the turkey dinner,” said Rik Wallis, who’s finished the Turkey Trot about eight years in a row.
Michael Guilfoil, a Turkey Trot organizer and Spokesman-Review contributor, said volunteers were relieved when they swept fallen leaves from the running course and found there was no ice underneath, making for a safe event.
After the run, the Bloomsday Road Runners Club held a drawing, giving away items such as gloves and water bottles.
The Turkey Trot, an annual tradition going back decades, is primarily a charitable event. There’s no fee to enter, though participants are expected to bring donations of food or cash for the Second Harvest food bank, which had volunteers stationed in the park with collection buckets.
Guilfoil estimated that Thursday’s event would bring in about 8,000 pounds of food and $8,000 in cash for Second Harvest.
“We just love it,” said Julie Chase, a former Second Harvest employee and longtime volunteer. “It’s the best. It’s the giving of the community on display. Everyone’s in a good mood, all smiles, ready to run.”
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