Naperville Noon Lions to host 2023 Turkey Trot

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For 26 years, the Naperville Noon Lions have been inviting people to start off their Thanksgiving with a run…and some fun.

A yearly tradition in Naperville

The Turkey Trot is a well-loved tradition of many in Naperville, and beyond. This year more than 5,800 people have already signed up to take part in the 5K event.

“It’s just a wonderful event. And, you know, I hope we have fast runners out there, but I just hope everyone just enjoys themselves,” said Glenn Behnke, Turkey Trot race director. “And if they want to just walk the whole thing, that’s terrific. And you see all these people pushing strollers and just going out for a walk, which is just great.”

Most register in advance, though Behnke says they’ll happily take last-minute entrants on Thursday.

Turkey Trotting for a cause

Participants flock to Naperville Central High School for the 8 a.m. start, with a dress code ranging from standard running gear to turkey attire. But the folks at the Naperville Noon Lions gobble up all the quirky costumes that come through, knowing it’s all for a good cause.

“All of the profits we get from this, we help people. There’s Loaves and Fishes. The after-school programs from the YMCAs all over Naperville. We’re helping people in need. We have eye exams for the little kids in grade school and high school,” Behnke said.

Proceeds also help other groups in need of hearing and vision care, along with veterans’ organizations.

Those who take part get an early start to the food frenzy of the day with a post-run breakfast donated by Belgio’s Catering. But above all, it’s a way for families and friends to start off the holiday together, welcoming Thanksgiving with the community.

“It’s just wonderful that the people in Naperville and their families and friends just love the race and keep coming out to it, which is I mean, that’s just terrific because really it’s a Naperville race,” said Behnke.

NCTV17 will be reporting live from the run on Facebook at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, to bring a bit of this hometown tradition to all.

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