While some woke up early on Thanksgiving Day to get started on the turkey, thousands of others put on their running shoes instead.
NBC 5 is a proud sponsor of the 41st annual Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot.
Despite the rainy weather, families stayed committed to a longtime tradition and one of Tarrant County’s largest events.
From the starting line to the eventual turkey dinner, it’s an everlasting tradition defining Thanksgiving Day in Fort Worth.
The first ever Turkey Trot took place in 1981 with just 200 runners. Now it has grown into thousands.
Organizers were expecting even bigger crowds this year and although the weather affected turnout for all events across North Texas, at least 8,000 people took part in the 1K walk, as well as the popular 5K and 10K runs.
From families pushing babies in strollers to runners in their 80s, the Turkey Trot has been an age old tradition for Tarrant County going on 41 years now.
Kim Cooke has been a part of 30 of those years, including the three times while she was pregnant with each of her boys.
“Actually I pushed two in the baby jogger and had been pregnant with number three. That was probably the most challenging one,” she said. “My boys have always known their mother to run.”
Now her grown son, Trevor Berkowitz, has been running with her in just about every turkey trot for the last 20 years, since he was 5 years old.
“It’s fantastic really, it’s something that as I was growing up it was always a part of my life,” he said.
“Honestly the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life is when Trevor ran his first race with me. I probably could’ve started crying. Because it was like this is why God had me running all these years, to have the privilege of running with my son,” said Cooke.
On Thursday before the run, both mother and son were recognized in the Trot Hall of fame for their dedication. Other inductees include Bryan Day and Agustan Hernandez.
“Thanksgiving is not thanksgiving without the turkey trot. It’s that simple. I can’t even imagine getting out of bed and just going into breakfast or something,” said Cooke.
The Turkey Trot serves as the biggest fundraiser for the Fort Worth YMCA, helping the organization continue crucial programs that help local families in need, from food insecurity to swimming lessons and more.
“It all supports the youth, the teens and the families in the YMCA. So scholarships, programs, services through sports and memberships, to daycamps and childcare. All Y programs benefit from this event today,” said Mike Brown, president and CEO of the Fort Worth YMCA. “We have kids and families that can’t afford programs. The benefit of this turkey trot is the scholarship to help promote inclusiveness and allow everyone to be a part of it.”
Over the years, the event has raised over $3 million to support local youth in Tarrant County.
The Dallas Turkey Trot also brought in thousands of participants to downtown Dallas for an exciting morning benefitting the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.
Around 16,000 runners were expected.
For the first time, the Y is partnered with a local restaurant, Cafe Momentum, to cater the VIP hospitality area that will be set up on race day to give runners and walkers food and drinks to energize them for the course.
Cafe Momentum is a nonprofit restaurant that provides a 12-month paid internship program for justice-involved youth. Interns work their way through all areas of the restaurant, learning legal employment, social skills, and life skills.
Donations and proceeds from the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot also benefit the Y’s community health programs across the metroplex that help families dealing with diabetes, nutritional challenges, and weight loss struggles.
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