Organizers of the Delaware Turkey Trot are hoping for another big crowd this year to help provide funds for the Autism Society of Central Ohio. The fourth installment of what is becoming a local Thanksgiving Day tradition is scheduled for Nov. 26.
“(The Autism Society) is doing a lot of great things in central Ohio,” said Jake King, youth pastor and community relations pastor at New Beginnings United Methodist Church in Delaware. “They provide a lot of resources to the autism community and they provide training for parents. They do a great job.”
New Beginnings is the host of the Turkey Trot, which began in 2012. According to King, the trot generated $13,500 in 2014, all of which was donated to the Autism Society of Central Ohio. The Turkey Trot has raised a total of $27,500 through its first three years of operation.
“We just want to give everything away,” King said. “We know it’s been a great blessing to them to get that money. We are really thankful for the local sponsors, because they help us to cover some of the hard costs so we can give away more.”
King said organizers are gearing up for another large field of runners this year. He said the 2014 trot drew a field of about 800 runners.
“It started out with 300 people the first year and then it grew to just shy of 900 the second year,” King said. “The second year we were kind of caught off guard. Some of the things we have now, like electronic chip timing, wasn’t in place. So now we’ve got that in place so we can have a really quality race. Right now, (registration is) above pace from last year. I’ll say we’ll still have in the 800-900 range, maybe a thousand. It’s hard to tell.”
King said the race attracts a broad range of participants.
“It’s definitely a good mix of families, serious runners and people coming out to support the cause,” he said.
King pointed out that members from New Beginnings have taken ownership of the race.
“The majority of our volunteers for the race are church members,” he said. “They’re the ones helping with packet pick-up, helping on race day, setting up, cleaning up. And we have a lot of people from the Autism Society as well, that come and help us out and volunteer. Our church is trying to give back to the community, and this is a great way to do that.”
The Turkey Trot features two races: the Little Gobbler, for kids age 8 and younger, and the 5K run/walk. The Little Gobbler fee is $15. The registration fee for the 5K run/walk is $32 now through Nov. 25. It increases to $40 on race day.
Race day registration will open at 7 a.m. on Nov. 26. The Little Gobbler race is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. The 5K run/walk will follow at 8:40 a.m.
Each runner will receive a race T-shirt. King encourages anyone wishing to participate to register by Nov. 16, which he said is the deadline for race organizers to submit the T-shirt order. However, as stated, registration will be available on race day.
The first 300 runners to cross the finish will each receive a pumpkin pie.
King said that information packets for runners who register ahead of race day will be available for pick up Nov. 23-25 at the New Beginnings office, located at 385 E. William St., or at Second Sole Sports Centre, located at 28 N. Sandusky St. Packets will be available at the church office from 6:30 to 10 a.m. and at the shoe store from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on those dates.
“If people register beforehand, they can get their race bib, their T-shirt, all of that stuff, which makes their race-day experience easier,” said King. “They don’t have to stand in line. They can just come, have their bib on and go to the start line.”
For information or to register, visit www.delawareturkeytrot.com.