Turkey Trot slated for Thanksgiving morning

Published 6:34 pm Monday, November 25, 2019

It’s an unofficial 5K held in Washington on one of the biggest eating days of the year.

Fitness Unlimited’s Turkey Trot will take place at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, as family, friends, locals and out-of-towners gather at Festival Park for this annual jaunt down East Main Street over the bridge to Washington Park and back again.

There’s no sign up. The only cost to participate is organizers ask for donations of nonperishable food items to be donated to the local food pantry, Eagle’s Wings.

“It gets you moving so that you’re not going to sit and eat, and it gives you something to do outside with your family and friends. It’s not all day; it’s 30 minutes, even if you’re walking,” said Amy Gerard, owner of Fitness Unlimited. “We say a prayer and take a photo, then say, ‘One, two, three — go, and enjoy your time and fellowship together.’”

Gerard said the Turkey Trot has continued to grow over the eight years it’s been held, and last year, more than 400 pounds of food was collected for donation to the food pantry.

Gerard said the Turkey Trot is really just a laid-back, non-competitive event — something different to do with family and friends. People are even welcome to bring their dogs, as long as they are on a leash.

“Most of the (Fitness Unlimited) employees come, people from the community; people here visiting family. They’re people I don’t even know sometimes, which is nice,” Gerard said. “It’s just a way to be active and have some fun on Thanksgiving.”

It’s also another way to stay physically active and de-stress, which can be difficult during the holidays. While the idea that, on average, people gain between five and 10 pounds over the holidays has been debunked—the average weight gain is more like one pound—those in the fitness business stress the importance of maintaining workout habits.

“So, how do we fit exercise into this crazy holiday schedule? First and foremost, try to exercise early in the day. The earlier you get it in, the less chance you have of something else ‘coming up’ and monopolizing your time,” Judy Van Dorp, director of Vidant Wellness Center, wrote in a past Health Beat column.

The Turkey Trot will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. Participants are invited to meet at Festival Park on Stewart Parkway and are welcome to run, walk or bike.