It started out as just a fun, family-friendly way to get out and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.
Fast-forward nine years, and upwards of 750 people turn out every Thanksgiving morning for the Fenwick Island Turkey Trot and what’s become a long-standing Fenwick Island tradition.
“People start emailing me in September,” said race director Lori Martin with a laugh, of the yearly anticipation.
“It’s definitely become a family tradition — which is what I envisioned from the beginning.”
Martin, who also runs Hip AHA Boot Camp, got the idea for that tradition while on vacation with her family in the Outer Banks. When she returned, she decided to bring the concept to Delaware, adding a few touches of her own and trying to make the concept more affordable for local families.
While the course from Lewes Street in Fenwick to the Maryland state line and back is timed, the run is more laidback than most charity races, with participants encouraged to either run, walk or ride their bikes, and even being free to bring their pets to join in.
“I wanted to make it affordable for everyone to attend and people to feel comfortable walking,” Martin explained. “It’s a reason to get out and move around with your family before we load up on our carbs.”
Adding to the light-hearted mix are the musical stylings of D.J. Batman, as well as the array of festive costumes shown off by not only runners but their four-legged friends as well. Each year, runners show up dressed as Pilgrims, turkeys or whatever else they fancy — showing off their Thanksgiving spirit for the year’s designated beneficiary.
New this year is the addition of the pet costume contest, which will cost $5 to enter and offer prizes donated by local businesses. All proceeds from the contest will benefit Paws of Tomorrow — an animal rescue based in Ocean View.
Wags to Riches will even be on site with a pet technician, and taking care of water stations. Notably, there will also be water offered for humans.
As is the case every year, there is no cost to register, but official event T-shirts are on sale for $20, to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
The beneficiary was chosen in memory of Barbara Murphy — a two-time breast cancer survivor and American Cancer Society volunteer who passed away from unrelated causes last year.
“We just wanted to make a donation in her memory,” said Martin. “We try to look for something local to donate the funds toward every year.”
The event will also collect non-perishable food items for local families, to be donated to Neighbors in Need. There will be a collection bin onsite on race morning, but Pottery Place in Fenwick will also be helping collect canned goods, and will be the site of the post-race party, featuring free coffee, hot chocolate and oatmeal for runners.
The race starts at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning at Lewes Street, but Martin encouraged runners to get there at 7:30 a.m. to pick up their race shirt and for a 7:45 warmup led by Hip AHA boot camp instructors. Parking is available at Pottery Place, Warren’s Station or the Fenwick-Bethany Area Chamber of Commerce, just north of Lewes Street.
Shirts availability is limited but can be guaranteed by posting to the Fenwick Island Turkey Trot Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fenwickislandturkeytrot.
For more information, contact Lori Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 539-1290.