Special guests included Trotter, the mascot of the annual event. For the children at Cherokee, Trotter and mascots from corporate sponsors including Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and Wallabies stole the show before kicking off the Turkey Trot season with their annual mascot race.
Before the mascots took over, Turkey Trot Chairman Mark Finucane told the children about the annual event's purpose.
“We created this to benefit the health and fitness of our entire community, but especially children like you guys right here,” he said to the students. “Every year, we give $3,500 back to the schools. Over the last 11 years, we’ve given $150,000 back to the community to support health and fitness for adults and children alike.
“We are looking forward to what we think is going to be the greatest Turkey Trot ever this year.”
The annual race is an all-inclusive event for participants of all ages and abilities, welcoming competitive athletes, casual runners, walkers, kids, strollers, people in wheelchairs and even dogs. This year’s race will begin on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, at 8:30 a.m. near Memorial Park on Legion Street.
As Finucane mentioned, the main aim of the annual event is to raise money for organizations that promote wellness, such as Niswonger’s Children's Hospital, the ETSU Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education and Johnson City Senior Services. The event also awards a total of $3,500 to the three schools with the most participants in two divisions.
Students are also encouraged to participate in an essay and coloring contest for this year’s Turkey Trot season. As with last year’s event, the winners will be named grand marshals of the Turkey Trot.
“The coloring and essay contests have become one of our most favorite parts of the Turkey Trot because the imaginations of our area children are amazing,” Director Karen Hubbs said in a press release. “This year, we are asking kids to write a story about some adventures that Trotter the Turkey and his friends encounter on their way to the Turkey Trot. We can’t wait to read the entries.”
This year’s sponsors of the annual Turkey Trot 5K include The Wellness Center, City of Johnson City, Johnson City Medical Center, ABC Tri-Cities/News Channel 11, WXBQ/Bristol Broadcasting, Olson’s Martial Arts Academy, Appalachian Animal Hospital, Food City, Johnson City Cardinals, Boyd Sports, Just Store It, Katz Americas, Johnson City Press, Pepsi, Summit Leadership Foundation, Tri-Cities Turtles, Dr. Carlson & Associates, One Stop Wine & Spirits, The Seeley Law Firm, Quantum Leap, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Mayfield Dairy, Allison Billboards, Krispy Kreme, Dempsey’s Jewelers and Zak’s Fine Furniture.
Early registration before midnight Nov. 19 costs $25 for adults and $20 for students 18 and younger. Late registration is $30 for adults and $25 for students.
For more information on the event, visit www.jcturkeytrot.com.