What is your Thanksgiving tradition? It probably involves getting together with family, eating enough to keep you stuffed until mid-December, and maybe watching a little bit of football from the couch.
But for many Sacramentans, Thanksgiving Day is also synonymous with the Run to Feed the Hungry, one of the most spirited and celebrated fun races in America – and all for a great cause.
Here are some more facts about the Run, sometimes also referred to as “the Turkey Trot:”
The Run to Feed the Hungry will commence its 24th annual event this Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving morning
This year, the 5k and 10k run (or walk) is expected to break its own record for attendance, with more than 30,000 runners registering to participate.
The current record for attendance at the Run to Feed the Hungry was 29,002 in 2016 and, before that, 28,544 in 2013 for the race’s 20th anniversary.
Not only do we have an impressive drove of runners, but tens of thousand supporters, bystanders, well-wishers and volunteers at the race every year.
That makes this “Turkey Trot” one of the largest Thanksgiving Day runs, charity fundraiser, and events in the entire country.
Of course, the whole point of getting out too early every Thanksgiving morning, often braving the cold and rain, is to raise money for a great cause, the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.
The charity race was established in 1994 when a modest 796 runners and patrons showed up for the first Turkey Day road race through East Sacramento.
The event raises donations for the Sacramento Food Bank (the official name is Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, or SFBFS). While exact totals aren’t available, it’s expected to bring in more than $1,000,000 in donations in 2017.
The SFBFS provides food, clothing, education, and other support services to about 50,000 men, women and children every month in our greater Sacramento community.
They do this by implementing their 15 signature programs with 210 other local agencies, all focus on educating and empowering people so that they can achieve financial independence. The SFBFS focuses on education, not giving hand-outs, to foster self -sufficiency.
The Sacramento Food Bank operates with the help of 10,000 volunteers, putting in 85,000 work hours every year for free.
Free programs offered in the community include:
- Emergency goods
- Adult and parent education
- Youth education
- Immigration legal services
- Refugee resettlement services
- SMUD EnergyHELP services
- Produce For All
- Commodities for Communities
- Nourishing our Neighbors
- Partner Agency Network
- No Student Left Hungry
- Food for Seniors
- Health & Nutrition
While it’s quite a production, the Run to Feed the Hungry is able to keep their operational costs low, thanks to corporate sponsors, generous individual donations, donated goods and services, hard-working volunteers, and the continued support of so many regular people in the community.
Some notable highlights from the Run to Feed the Hungry over the years:
The record for the coldest temperatures for a Run to Feed the Hungry was in 210 when it was a bone-chilling 28 degrees on Thanksgiving morning!
While this race is for charity and there is plenty of family fun to be had, it’s also a serious road race. In fact, some of the top times for the 5K include 14 minutes and 50 seconds for the male group, or 17 minutes, 10 seconds for the female group.
For the 10K, best times include an impressive 30 minutes, 13 seconds for the male group and 36 minutes, 4 seconds for the female group.
Celebrating diversity and access to the event for all Sacramentans, there is now a wheelchair race category at this Turkey Trot. Racers with lower body disabilities or other injuries can compete with hand-powered cycles.
Joining a team to raise money and run as a group is a big part of the race’s fun. In the past, it took a minimum of 20 registered runners to form a team, but now, it’s much more fun since only four people can sign up as their own team.
The record for the largest group at the Run to Feed the Hungry was by Christian Brothers High School, when 449 students, teachers, and parents ran in the same team, barely beating out rival St. Francis High School’s 446-person team.
Fun and funny hats, costumes, and other props have become an entertaining tradition at the Run, whether for racers, walkers, or even bystanders and volunteers. You’re likely to see everything from hats resembling turkeys, corn cobs, slices of pie, full turkey and bunny suits, plenty of men and women in tutus, painted faces and brightly colored socks and gear.
Along the race course, there are even bands set up intermittently, playing lively music to entertain and encourage the crowd. One of my favorites is the Elvis Impersonator that usually plays near the 65th Street junction!
The unsung heroes that make the Run to Feed the Hungry possible every year are the volunteers. In fact, about 650 caring citizens signed up to help out at this year’s race, showing up as early as 4 am to perform tasks like setting up, directing crowds, passing out water, working the registration tables, and cleaning up and picking up trash. If you’re at the race, thank one of these warm-hearted people in orange shirts!
If you’d like to run, attend, or even volunteer, here are some more details about this year’s Run to Feed the Hungry:
10K Run & 5K Run/Walk to support Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
Thanksgiving morning - Thursday, November 23, 2017 — Rain or Shine!
10K - 8:15 a.m. • 5K - 9 a.m.
The race starts on J Street just west of the entrance to the Sacramento State campus and runs through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento.
Regular Registration (Friday, November 16 - Wednesday, November 22) - $40
Race Day Registration (Thanksgiving Day, November 23) - $45 *Race day registrants will not be timed
For more information, visit www.runtofeedthehungry.com/
For more information:
For general information call (916) 456-1980.