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Register early for 20th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

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Springfield’s running community will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot on Nov. 27

The 20th Annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk is signing up entries for this years race, beginning at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov. 27,  in downtown Springfield. Turkey Trotters have until Friday, Nov. 21 to take advantage of discount Early Bird registration. After that, prices increase and registration is only accepted in person.

Turkey Trot is Springfield’s largest timed 5K walk/run of the year and the largest Thanksgiving Day 5K in Missouri, attracting 8,034 participants in 2013.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Scholarship Fund and the Developmental Center of the Ozarks. Turkey Trot also serves as the largest one-day food drive for Ozarks Food Harvest. The event is held rain, snow or shine.

Early Bird registration, available online, by mail or in person until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, is $20 for adults, $15 for kids 12 and under. Registration includes a long-sleeve T-shirt and a race bib with timing device. A $3.25 service charge will be added to each online registration. Printed and mailed or hand-delivered registrations have no service charge. Mail must be postmarked by Nov. 19.

Register online for the Turkey Trot or print registration form.

On-Site registration is available in person only Wednesday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., and Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 6:15-7 a.m. at the Springfield Expo Center, 653 E. Trafficway, downtown Springfield.

Participants may register for one of four race categories, each with staggered start times:

Elite: Participants have completed a sanctioned 5K in the last 18 months within at least 24 minutes for females, 21 minutes for males. For safety concerns, no dogs or strollers are allowed.

Runner: Participants will run or jog a 5K at a consistent pace without walking breaks. For safety concerns, no dogs or strollers are allowed.

Walker: Family is ideal for groups, families with strollers or small children, or anyone wishing to walk all or part of the route. For safety concerns, no dogs are allowed.

Pet: Participants running, jogging or walking with dogs. Strollers and groups are also allowed in this category. Please pick up after your dog. Pet Category starts last.

For more information about Turkey Trot, visit parkboard.org or call the Springfield-Greene County Park Board at 417-837-5817.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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