Loveland Turkey Trot draws robust crowd – Loveland Reporter-Herald

The brisk north wind made for a bracing walk from the parking lot to the staging area at Subaru of Loveland, but the 1,200-plus competitors signed up for the 2022 Turkey Trot didn’t seem to mind.

In fact, the crowd seemed brimming with holiday cheer as they headed for the starting line of the 21st annual Thanksgiving 5K, some wearing colorful socks or tutus and many with their dogs.

Things turned serious for at least some of the competitors once the gun went off, including David Roeske, a Loveland native turned Brooklynite, who called the Turkey Trot his “Thanksgiving tradition.”

“I always come back to do this on Thanksgiving with my parents who live here in Loveland,” he said. “It’s a really special thing.”

Loveland native David Roeske poses with his father John after winning the 2022 Loveland Turkey Trot on Thursday. (Jocelyn Rowley/Love;and-Reporter Herald)

Roeske, who has completed several marathons and climbed Mount Everest twice, went on to his first-ever Turkey Trot win, with a time of 17 minutes 11 seconds.

“I’ve run this probably for 10 or 15 times now, but I’m always a little tired coming from sea level, so it’s always a challenge,” the recent New York marathon finisher said. “But after many, many years of hoping, maybe being like the top three or five, it was super awesome to get a hometown win.”

Roeske received a medal and a pumpkin pie for his win, as did the second and third place finishers, Marcus Giles of Fort Collins (17:26) and David Zakavec (17:30) of Loveland.

Jayda Nix, 18, and Sapphire Springett, 15, both of Loveland, were the top women’s finishers on the day.

Jordan Jennings was the first runner to cross the finish line while pushing a stroller, which kept his 2-year old and 5-month old cozy despite the chill. Like many in the Turkey Trot field, Jennings and his wife were longtime participants.

“It’s a lot of fun, and the kids enjoy it too,” he said. “It’s a great bonding experience for families.”

For Kara Pappas, executive director of race sponsor McKee Wellness Foundation, seeing families adding an exercise tradition to their Thanksgiving celebrations is one of the most gratifying aspects of the day.

“I’m constantly amazed by the families who choose to kick of their holiday by participating in the Turkey Trot,” she said. “It’s a multi-generational event, and the fact that so many people braved the cold temperatures to support a really wonderful cause as the way they start off their Thanksgiving Day is immeasurably special to us.”

The 5K is one of three main year fundraisers for the foundation, along with a golf tournament in the spring and a gala in the fall. Proceeds from the race will go toward the foundation’s programming, Pappas explained, including the scholarship fund and the new mental health fund, which debuted earlier this year.

Pappas is in her second year of overseeing the event, and was pleasantly surprised by the turnout of participants in this year’s race. She was even more surprised by the number of volunteers who showed up, making the day go much more smoothly.

“Between our amazing staff and incredible volunteers, everybody pulled together and made it a great event,” she said. “A lot of students are helping us out this year, but individuals from across the community just really pulled together and said, ‘this is a great cause and we want to come out and do what we can even if we’re not running’.”

For full results of this year’s race, visit lovelandturkeytrot.com.

LOVELAND, CO - Nov. 24, 2022: More than 1,200 runners and walkers cross the start line in Thursday's 21st annual Loveland Turkey Trot. The race benefits the programs of the McKee Wellness Foundation. (Jocelyn Rowley/Loveland-Reporter Herald)
More than 1,200 runners and walkers cross the start line in Thursday’s 21st annual Loveland Turkey Trot. The race benefits the programs of the McKee Wellness Foundation. (Jocelyn Rowley/Loveland-Reporter Herald)

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