Naperville Noon Lions’ Turkey Trot Celebrates Milestone

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Celebrating their twentieth annual run, the Naperville Noon Lions Club’s Turkey Trot took off this morning at Naperville Central High School.

This 5K run has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

“When this race started 20 years ago, I believe we had 350 runners, and it progressively got more and more popular. More and more families do this as a tradition,” said Race Director Jim Alagna. “When we look at the people are racing today they’re from all over the country coming to Naperville to visit family and turn this into a family tradition.”

That Turkey Trot tradition has grown to having almost eight thousand runners today, which many have been trotting since it all began.

“Originally I signed up because I saw an ad in the paper and I said ‘this looks like a really fun way to start Thanksgiving,’ and then did it for a number of years, and then about 10 years ago I ended up joining the Lions, and I said ‘I’ll join but I still want to run the Turkey Trot.’ So I’ve been running it every year and I’ve got my family, there’s four of us running it together plus friends,” said Bill Cornish, a Turkey Trot veteran.

“We have it down to a science,” said Michelle Barnard, who’s ran the Turkey Trot almost every year. “We come run the race, go home, throw the turkey in the oven, and eat like gluttons later.”

And adding to the old tradition is a new one.

“We added a bell, on-loan from the Naperville Fire Department it’s their Honor Guard Bell,” added Alagna. “So whenever somebody does their personal best or their first race they can go over to the bell and ring the bell. It’s pretty exciting.”

The Turkey Trot definitely brought out the Thanksgiving spirit in many who decided to dress the part.

And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some giving. The Turkey Trot supports all of the Naperville Noon Lions Club’s charities, and focuses on their cause of helping the vision and hearing impaired.

A Naperville Thanksgiving tradition to have some fun while doing good.

Happy Thanksgiving from Naperville News 17. Christine Lena reports.