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Let’s Talk Turkey Trot

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Nov. 14, 2013 | Modified: Nov. 29, 2013
Let’s Talk Turkey Trot

Jeff, Ally and Angela Hampton pause for a photo, before tackling the annual Turkey Trot. Proceeds from the 5K benefit the Hospitality House of Boone.

Photo submitted

Dust off your running shoes, and put the turkey and fixings under aluminum foil — it’s the third annual Turkey Trot.

The Thanksgiving 5K to benefit the Hospitality House of Boone will host more than 800 runners from across the eastern United States, as they race to top personal bests and raise funds for those who are doing without this holiday season.

With a similar course to previous years, the 5K timed run will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Boone Greenway Trail at the Clawson-Burnley Park entrance. Final registration can be made from 7 to 8:30 a.m., but pre-registration is encouraged by visiting Registration is $30 for adults the day of the race and $25 for adults and teens for pre-registration.

While Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to pause, reflect and give thanks to the bounty and good fortune hard work has yielded, it is also a chance to give back to the community — at least, if you are a runner.

The Hospitality House of Boone, an emergency homeless shelter and agency geared to help families and individuals transition to permanent living situations, will once again be the sole beneficiary.
Since beginning in 2011, the Turkey Trot has become known as the High Country’s largest 5K, and event organizers are hoping to soon eclipse the 1,000 participant mark.

“It started out with a bang, that’s for sure,” said Todd Carter, director of development at the Hospitality House. “We were hoping for 200 people the first year, and I remember tallying up the pre-registrations, and I said, ‘Wow, we have 225 people.’ Well, an additional 225 showed up the day of the race.”

Last year, organizers planned for 500 participants but ended up with 650 runners.

The past two Turkey Trots have generated a combined $31,000 and 1,200 pounds of food. Carter is hopeful this year’s race will generate as much food as the past two events combined.

The outstanding outpour of support from the community might be attributed to the giving nature of people during the holiday season, Carter said.

“Thanksgiving is the one day that more people want to do something nice for other people than any other day in the calendar year,” he said. “Thanksgiving is the day they want to do something new for someone else. It really just plays off of that. The concept is so popular that if you do it right, it will continue to grow. Last year, we had people from 13 different states. Some were as far away as Long Island and almost every Eastern Seaboard state was represented.”

This year’s format will slightly differ from previous years, as casual runners and noncompetitive runners will begin their segment of the race a few minutes after the more serious runners embark.
For those runners who could not resist the urge to nibble on some early morning Thanksgiving turkey, they can choose the “sleep-in” option, which allows them to register and receive a T-shirt for participation.

“You can tell people you ran it,” Carter said. “We don’t care. We won’t divulge your secret.”
New to this year’s race will also be a digitized runner’s shoot that displays the final time of each runner in big illuminated digits. The American Red Cross will also provide daycare for children between the ages of 2 and 8.

This year’s primary sponsors are Wendy’s and Molecular Toxicology Inc. Carter is hopeful that a corporate sponsor will one day underwrite the entire event once the number of participants exceeds one thousand.

For more information on the Turkey Trot and the Hospitality House, visit

Additional Images

Jeff, Ally and Angela Hampton pause for a photo, before tackling the annual Turkey Trot. Proceeds from the 5K benefit the Hospitality House of Boone.
Photo submitted

Hearts of Hospitality president Emily Stallings and director of development Todd Carter dress for the season at 2012’s Turkey Trot.
Photo submitted

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