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Culture

Springfield-Greene County Park Board Celebrates 25 Years of ‘Turkey Trot’ 5K Run

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Springfield-Greene County Park Board
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Every year on Thanksgiving Day, thousands of running enthusiasts, families, and pets gather to participate in the Turkey Trot, a 5K race hosted by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. This will mark the 25th iteration of what is now the largest Thanksgiving 5K race in Missouri.

The race is a flat, fast course around five kilometers of downtown Springfield. There are separate categories for elite runners, regular runners, walkers, and even dogs.

Jenny Fillmer Edwards, spokeswoman for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, says the Turkey Trot started in 1995 as a fundraiser between the park board and the Developmental Center of the Ozarks.

“It has grown exponentially from 142 participants that first year to 7,500 last year,” Edwards tells KSMU.

Proceeds still go to the Developmental Center of the Ozarks, as well as the park board’s Recreation Scholarship Fund. Participants are also encouraged to bring five, non-perishable food items to the race to donate to Ozarks Food Harvest.

Edwards says the Turkey Trot is a special Thanksgiving Day tradition, because families can walk it together and then share a meal together afterward.

“Somehow it assuages your guilt to have completed a 5K before sitting down to a giant feast,” she jokes.

Participants may register online at www.parkboard.org until Friday at 5 PM.  After that, registration is available at the race in person. Entries are $15 for kids and $20 for adults.