2023 Naperville Turkey Trot kicks off Thanksgiving

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The Naperville Noon Lions hosted their 26th annual Turkey Trot 5K to officially kick off Thanksgiving. 

Trotters arrived bright and early this morning at Naperville Central High School to begin the holiday run.

The Naperville Turkey Trot saw growth in as runners gobbled up the entry fees, jumping from 5,800 participants last year to selling out this year with 6,500 runners.

“It keeps growing, which is great, but we didn’t expect this much growth but wonderful. Naperville has been a wonderful supporting community and the surrounding places. It’s just wonderful. It’s a nice problem to have,” said Glenn Behnke, Turkey Trot race director.

Trotters flock to Naperville

There was a wide variety of participants this year from runners to walkers including kids, teenagers, adults, festive community members, and even some dogs.

Many families make this run the start to their turkey day, like the Sharpe family.

“I did this by myself a couple of years ago and just wanted to do it with my family. It’s just a feel-good, getting good exercise and helping the community,” said the Sharpe family.

Another tradition is at the one-mile mark, where neighbors hand out bloody marys to runners (21 years and older).

But the best treat was reaching the finish line.

“I feel amazing, great way to start the morning. Lots of people surrounded with us with the same mission and ready to get some turkey in us,” said Andrew Mayszak, a turkey trot runner.

The turkey trot participants certainly earned their right to gobble up their Thanksgiving feast tonight. 

“We woke up really early and we did the thing, and I think we deserve a nice plate of food. Yeah, we’re going to check out the options here, then go home, make some breakfast, and eat, eat, eat, all day long,” said Andrew and Alex Mayszak.

Trotting for a good cause

The event’s proceeds will be going back to the Naperville community to help children and seniors get vision and hearing care they may not be able to afford. Proceeds will also go to Loaves and Fishes, veterans’ organizations, and agencies fighting hunger and homelessness.

“It’s an amazing cause, glad we can contribute to it. They help the community so vastly and I’m just proud that we were able to also help that cause. Yeah, anytime there’s a race with a philanthropic cause, I’m all about it. So I’m glad that this is the case,” said Andrew and Alex.

The annual Naperville Turkey Trot was once again a great way to kick off the holiday morning.

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