Evanston Flying Turkey 5k runs its fifth year


Run before you stuff.

You can get active this Thanksgiving by participating in the Evanston Flying Turkey 5k at 9 a.m.

“This is an awesome, family- based 5k,” said Jonathan Cain, race director. “There are various ways to get involved.”

Whether you’re motivated to run or walk, registration costs $35 and increases to $40 the day of the race. The first 2,000 participants, including volunteers, receive a winter hat and goodie bag.

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Cain. Volunteers are needed from 7:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to work the registration station, hand out water, and serve as course marshals during the race.

“We get great support from the community each year, and the numbers keep on growing,” said Cain. From 2011 to 2015, the average number of participants rose from 1,200 to 2,000.

Set along the lakefront, the race course is a major attraction to the event. “It’s beautiful and dynamic,” said Abby Stein, junior, who has run with cross country friends in the past. “The path has a lot of turns, so the scenery varies.”

With an average budget of $1,000- $2,000, the race provides water stations and finish line refreshments. It is sponsored by Evanston Subaru, North Shore Hospital, Chicago Athlete, Whole Foods, @properties, and other organizations.

A portion of the proceeds goes towards the Harvest Food Pantry, an agency of the Vineyard Christian Church of Evanston, and Foundation 65. Race leaders also encourage participants to donate canned goods to benefit the Harvest Food Pantry.

Besides helping the hungry, the 5k serves as a motivator for physical activity. The course is certified with a chip timer, enabling participants to track their times. Plus, if you’re of the competitive spirit, the top three male or female runners overall and in the 5-year age divisions are awarded ribbons at the end of the race.

However, you shouldn’t be intimidated if you are not an experienced runner. Many participants simply come to get some fresh air on Thanksgiving morning.

“I really enjoy the atmosphere; it’s fun to see all those people out in the community,” said Stuart Mckean, junior.

Other than changing the giveaway, the race is relatively the same every year and welcomes everyone. “We like to emphasize tradition,” said Cain.

No matter your athletic ability or interest, the Flying Turkey 5k allows you to start your holiday on a positive note. Whether you participate to support a good cause, get active, or enjoy an outing with some friends and family, this Evanston Thanksgiving tradition is sure to make you gobble for more.