The Sea Colony’s fourth annual 5K Turkey Trot went off without a hitch this past Thanksgiving weekend and set a new record with nearly 100 people more than the previous highest participation — all to benefit local Special Olympic athletes.
A whopping 244 people worked off the Thanksgiving bulge in this year’s event and helped raise more than $3,000 to aid nearly as many Delaware Special Olympics athletes who compete in 16 events throughout the year.
The money raised through the event goes to cover a myriad of expenses, from training equipment such as bikes for area athletes to train on during the summer months to participation fees. According to Special Olympics Executive Director Ann Grunert, the Turkey Trot is worth its weight in gold.
“It’s wonderful when the community can show their support for these athletes, because they’re not always embraced by society,” she said, “because we’ll never appreciate the value of our community until all of its members are embraced.”
“And when you see the determination and courage of these athletes it becomes clear that their voice matters too,” she added. “Everyone has something to contribute and the success of our program is a testament to the event (Turkey Trot).”
“It’s very family (oriented) and it holds to the very spirit of the holidays,” Grunert said. “We couldn’t do it without Sea Colony and the support of the community.”
“It was great to see so many people,” Grunert continued.
According to Grunert, the support they’ve received over the last four years through Sea Colony’s annual fundraiser has enabled the Delaware Special Olympics chapter to grow nearly three-fold, from 1,100 members to 3,000 members.
“The money raised fuels our growth and fuels awareness, which is critical,” she said.
Sea Colony event coordinator Amanda Savage was equally as grateful for the support from participants and area sponsors that made the event so successful.
“It takes a lot of support from the surrounding community to make this happen,” she said. “But this is something people enjoy.”
Some 17 local sponsors supported the event with supplies and monetary donations. And, in the end, the result was clear: the money will make a difference for athletes with disabilities and the community is stronger for it.
“There were a lot of smiling faces,” Sea Colony Marketing Manager Claudia Thayne said. “It truly was an enriching experience.”