Turkey on the Run draws 700 participants
By Steve Maher
WENATCHEE — About 700 runners and walkers laced up their shoes Thursday morning for Turkey on the Run, and in the process easily set a new participation record for the annual Thanksgiving Day event.
The previous mark was established a year ago when 400 participants finished the event’s 5K and 12K races.
There were plenty of reasons to take part in the fifth-annual running of the race, chief among them nice late fall weather and the chance to support a good cause, the Women’s Resource Center of NCW.
Shortly after the start at Rotary Park, a steady stream of runners could be seen stretching for blocks along Western Avenue.
“Things went way beyond our expectations,” said Joel Rhyner, race director and a partner in RunWenatchee, which organizes the race. “We knew going in that registration numbers were way up, but we had no idea we would get this sort of turnout. The weather was fantastic, and people like helping out a charity. I think they also really enjoy this course and the variety it offers — the terrain, the views, the neighborhood feel. It’s become a holiday tradition in Wenatchee.”
Marcell McArthur, 38, of Wenatchee, cruised to the men’s 12K championship in a time of 45:23, with Drew VanPolen, 17, second in 46:28. Leavenworth’s Marlene Farrell, 37, captured the women’s 12K in 47.34. Selina Danko, 43, came in second in 51.29.
In the 5K race, Wenatchee’s John Dunley, 18, collected the men’s title in 19:33, edging out Cole Christman, 16, 19:34, and Austen Lane, 15, 19:35. On the women’s side, Wenatchee’s Emily Nordt, 18, clocked 20.55 to come out on top. Meghan Johnson, 16, was second in 24:06.
From Rotary Park, 12K runners traverse Western Avenue, Springwater Avenue, Woodward Drive, Fifth Street, before reaching the end of Number One Canyon Road, and then returning to the park. The 5K course follows the 12K course except participants turn around at Woodward and Fifth and return to the park.
For complete results, please click here.
This year’s race drew participants from around the state — many here in town for the holiday — and as far away as Texas.
Turkey on the Run had just 100 runners and walkers its first year. But it has grown significantly the past couple years, from 220 in 2010 to 400 in 2011 and finally to the 700 who showed up Thursday. That was the number who participated. The number who registered was slightly higher.
“We want to continue to get better,” Rhyner said. “We had great weather this year but we’ve had cold years and people still showed up. It’s really a reflection of the people in the valley here. People love getting out here. And they love raising money for a great cause.”
This year’s event also showcased 25 local elementary school girls who are part of the national Girls on the Run program, which aims to boost the self-esteem and fitness level of girls. Each of the girls were accompanied by an adult running buddy and each successfully completed their first-ever 5K. The program is overseen by Marlen Mendez of Columbia Valley Community Health in Wenatchee.
Along the course, spectators were spotted cheering the girls on.
“They had a ball,” said Michele Rhyner, who also helps organize Turkey on the Run.
Presenting sponsors this year were Black Diamond Sports Therapy and SET Coaching. Team Reliv also served as a sponsor, providing energy drink. Two other local businesses, Wenatchee Valley Medical Center and Libke Insurance, helped pick up the costs of the Girls on the Run program.
Steve Maher is a partner in RunWenatchee, along with Joel and Michele Rhyner.