Annual Turkey Trot draws thousands to downtown Naperville
By David Sharos For The Sun November 22, 2012 2:22PM
Holly Kleinschrodt (left) and Debora Baran (right), both natives of Wheaton, speak to each other before the 2012 Naperville Turkey Trot on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Top of the Trot
Here are the top three finishers for the men and women who took part in the Turkey Trot in Naperville Thursday:
1. Kyle Brady, Naperville 14:52
2. Aaron Beattie, Seattle 14:54
3. Mitch Gilbert, Naperville 15:00
1. Amanda Mirochna, Naperville 17:05
2. Amber Druien, Naperville 17:54
3. McKinzie Schulz, Naperville 18:19
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:23AM
When Bolingbrook resident Nancy Klimah got out of bed Thursday morning, her agenda was to start the day exercising with her family before moving on to something less strenuous.
“We’re going to start the day off with a run first and then stuff ourselves later,” she said.
Klimah and nine other family members joined thousands of others who began their Thanksgiving Day here in Naperville by participating in the 15th annual 5K Turkey Trot run, offered by the Naperville Noon Lions.
While every race has to have a winner, the major focus of the event revolves around raising money and being with family.
“We literally have folks that come here from all over the country,” said Kris Hartner of the Naperville Running Company, a presenting sponsor of the event. “People come in every year to visit family for the holidays and just make this a regular part of their trip. It has always been a big family thing.”
Once again, registration for the race closed early as the total participants reached 7,700 runners, a number that Hartner and race committee member Donna Kearney said has been typical the past three years.
“We have had to close the race as this is the maximum number of people we can accommodate given the space we have,” Kearney said. “We ask people to line up based on the pace they fell they’ll run but it takes a long time to get everyone in place.”
Kearney said the goal this year was to raise more than $125,000. Last year, the race netted a record total of $140,000. Money will be used to help students and their families in Districts 203 and 204 who have vision or diabetes issues.
“We also buy diabetes testing strips for those who request it, and if there is money left over, we distribute it to vision-related services here in Naperville or agencies that help children like the local food pantry, facilities for homeless children and Easter Seals,” Kearney said.
Aurora Avenue looked more like the site of a parade as hundreds streamed their way along the road toward the staging area at Naperville Central High School. Many wore turkey hats and other costumes to accent their running gear. Runners left at 8 a.m. and were treated afterwards to a pancake breakfast in the school’s cafeteria. Many runners said the race had become part of their annual holiday tradition, while equally as many said they were first-time participants.
“This is my fourth year, but I’m going to run with my son Jack and this is his first time,” said Daria Eaton of Naperville. “It’s really crowded at the beginning of the race and I feel like you spend most of your time dodging other people or trying to pass others who are slower than you, which helps me run faster.”
Jack Eaton, 11, has been running on his school’s cross country team the past few months and was ready to take on his mother.
“I’ve kind have gotten into running and some friends of mine will be here,” he said.
Bruce Shannon of Naperville brought his wife Mary and sons Reece, 8 and Matthew, 12 along for a family run. Bruce said this was his fourth Turkey Trot event and that he and his wife have been planning to make it a family event for some time.
“This is a nice way to burn some calories before we eat later, but my wife and I have been talking now for a few years about bringing everyone once the kids got big enough,” he said.
Many runners brought youngsters in strollers but Glen Ellyn resident Pat Byrne, 72, a member of the Glen Ellyn Lions who is visually impaired, came with his 4 ½-year old Golden Retriever/Labrador Jenna, who Byrne predicted would be a little ramped up at the start of the race.
“Since we support visually impaired people, I wanted to be a part of this today as I also work at the DuPage Center for Independent Living where we offer visual impairment services,” Byrne said. “Jenna ran with me in a race out at Cosley Farm and she tries to keep pace with the early runners. From the start, she’s ready to rock and roll.”