Ozark Outdoors

Three weeks until 22nd annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk

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Runners gather at the starting line for the 20th Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.

Runners gather at the starting line for the 20th Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. This year at least 7,000 runners and walkers are expected to participate in the event benefiting Ozarks Food Harvest.

Discount Early Bird Registration is now open for the 22nd Annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk, held Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m. in downtown Springfield.

Turkey Trot is Springfield’s largest timed 5K run/walk of the year and the largest Thanksgiving Day 5K in Missouri, attracting more than 7,000 participants a year. Turkey Trot is held rain, snow or shine.

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 one of the largest one-day food drives of the year for Ozarks Food Harvest, which collected food for 6,500 meals last year.

Early Bird registration is available online and via mail until Friday, Nov. 18, at $20 for adults, $15 for kids 12 and under. After Nov. 18, registration must be done in person, with fees increasing to $25/adults, $15/kids.

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: 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. Dogs must be on a leash. Please pick up after your dog. Pet Category starts last.

No matter which race category, participants’ individual race times begin when they cross the starting line and end at the finish line.

Register online or print a registration form at ParkBoard.org/TurkeyTrot. A $3.25 service charge will be added to each online registration. Printed and mailed or hand-delivered registrations have no service charge. Must be postmarked by Nov. 16. Early Bird registration closes at 5 p.m. Nov. 18.

On-site (in person) registration and race packet pick-up are open Wednesday, Nov. 23, 8 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., and Race Day, 6-7:15 a.m.

Registration includes a long-sleeve T-shirt and a race bib with timing device.

For a race route map, video, details and more, visit ParkBoard.org/TurkeyTrot Information is also available from the Springfield-Greene County Park Board at 417-837-5817 or 417-864-1049.

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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