GraceWorks Ministries hosted its annual Turkey Trot 5K, 10K and Kids Turkey Chase on Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, at Meridian Cool Springs in Franklin.
More than 3,300 family and friends participated in the race or cheered on those who participated. Some wore turkey costumes, hats and other Thanksgiving and Christmas-inspired outfits. Dozens of medals were handed out for first and second place for the 5K and 10K relative to age bracket.
This was the event’s 24th year and its biggest yet. Crowds packed the street behind the finish line.
“This is one of the fundraisers that we do to support our food, shelter and support programs as we step into our neighbor serving neighbor mission,” GraceWorks CEO Valencia Breckenridge said. “We have over 3,200 runners out here, those are those neighbors, supporting neighbors in need. Of course, the proceeds from this event go toward our programs to help us serve strong during this holiday season and all year long. We are very grateful. Our expectation is that this event will help us raise over $200,000.”
The Turkey Trot does not merely support those neighbors in need with its funds raised. The event’s infectious energy of encouragement and seasonal cheer also affects the participants. Seasoned trotters raced beside new runners on Thursday. First-time participants Michelle Giffen and ElizaBeth Perthel walked the 5K.
“We support the work of GraceWorks, we volunteer and contribute to and love their ministry,” Giffen said. “Both of us have been recently widowed and so we are starting new traditions.”
When the pair finished the trot, they decided to host a Friendsgiving “with anyone who wants to come.”
The races went off without a hitch. The police paced the leading runner, and other emergency services were on standby. Those who won the races relative to their age group attended a ceremonial photoshoot afterward.
“I’m proud just to be able to get out here and enjoy [the races] with family,” said Dale Vanhooser, first-place winner of the 10K age 65-69 male category. “It’s a great event. They put on a great race. I’ve done Boston marathons and a lot of different long-distance races, but this is a good distance, and it’s always a great crowd. Everyone needs to come out and earn their turkey.”
Platinum sponsors of the Turkey Trot include Pella Windows & Doors of Nashville, Atmos Energy, Dale & Associates and Nelson Mazda.
The original article was published in Williamson Herald.