Staff Report

Thanksgiving traditions often include family and food, but for many area residents the day usually begins with a new tradition, fitness. The FishHawk Turkey Trot, which takes place on Thanksgiving Day, drew nearly 3,000 participants last year and aims to go over the 3,000 mark this year. The race marks the beginning of the holiday based on thankfulness and giving back as the charity race funds local food bank, Seeds of Hope, Inc. (SOH).

The all-road course begins at the FishHawk Publix and offers three options for participants: A certified 5k course, a one mile loop and a 250 yard mini-course all open to kids, parents and grandparents. Race Director Leda Eaton feels the race has something for everyone.

“The FishHawk Turkey Trot is friendly to the whole family,” said Eaton. “I love the fact that we can include chip timing for the really competitive runners as well as a 250 yd. race so little ones can participate.”

The race has some unique features which make it a family friendly value: Dri-fit T-shirts for everyone, even kids, handmade medals and ornaments, free kids’ craft area, and a turkey mascot for great Thanksgiving Day photos. After the kids’ race, all participants are welcome to join the turkey in a post race celebration, as he dances to the “Wobble” song.

It’s a major fundraiser for SOH which is located beside Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale at 710 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon. SOH offers an open food distribution on Thursday evenings from 5-7 p.m.  Anyone who might need food assistance is encouraged to come. A major distribution will occur at the location on Friday, November 21, and will include a box of food meant to help families over the Thanksgiving break as well as a giveaway of donated sweatshirts and coats.

Proceeds from the FishHawk Turkey Trot also help fund the charity’s ongoing backpack program that provides a weekend supply of food to students who qualify for free lunch.

The race partners with the FishHawk YMCA. The Y will be leading the Kids’ Fun Runs and will be the onsite packet pickup location on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 25 and 26 from 4-8 p.m. The FishHawk Turkey Trot takes place on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27. The 5k run/walk registration is $25 ($30 race day) and the Fun Runs are $15 ($20 race day). For more information, visit fishhawkturkeytrot.com.