By Michelle Caceres
With the average American consuming 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day, there’s no better way to kick off the diet-busting day than by participating in the eighth annual FishHawk Turkey Trot.
The 5k race, that attracts the swift-footed five-minute milers and the weekend warriors whose only goal is to cross the finish line, begins at 8 a.m. and winds through the streets of FishHawk Ranch. A one-mile fun run and 250-yard mini-run will begin at 9 a.m.
Proceeds from the event benefit Seeds of Hope food bank, a local nonprofit that provides food to families in need in the community. Seeds of Hope hands out boxes of food to more than 70 families per week and provides more than 150 backpacks of food to school children during the weekends when they don’t have access to free lunch.
“So many people benefit from this event, first and foremost people in need,” said race organizer Leda Eaton, who has memories of running in a turkey trot in West Virginia. “It just became a tradition and a part of Thanksgiving,” she said.
When she moved to FishHawk she wanted her friends and neighbors to adopt the same tradition and in 2009 the charity event was born. Its first year saw 450 registered runners.
In the last eight years it has grown just a bit. With an estimated 3,000 participants, the event is the largest road race in the area, attracting participants of every shape and size.
“Our event is, first and foremost, about including the whole family-from Grandpa and Grandma to the youngest child who can walk,” said Eaton. “It’s just a great overall family experience.”
Registration for the 5k chip-timed race opened in September but continues until the day of the event. Racers can register online at www.sohopefl.org or in-person at the FishHawk Ranch Welcome Center, located at 5901 Village Center Drive. Early bird registration, ending October 31st, is $25 for the 5k and $15 for the fun run.
Registered runners can pick up their packets November 22nd or November 23rd from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. at The Palmetto Club, located at 17004 Dorman Rd.
“Because of the support of the community at this event we are able to support those in need in our community for a whole year,” said Eaton. “That is truly something to be thankful for.”