Prep for Flying Turkey 5k in motion

Hannah Cervantes, Staff Writer

The Flying Turkey 5k has been on Thanksgiving morning in Evanston for the past 10 years, and it  has become a popular place for families from all over to come together and have a good time. The community benefits from the race too, with all the charity booths and food drives that the race supports. The sponsors of the race have stands set up with free food and drinks, along with trinkets and candy. 

Such a seemingly simple event takes a lot more planning than you might think. Jonathan Cain has been directing the event since it started.

“We start planning for the next race right after one is finished,” Cain said. Planning street permits and having police officers and ambulances at the races can be a hard task to schedule correctly. On top of everything else, the iconic flying turkey hats need to be passed out. 

“The hats started in the fourth year of the race,” Cain explained. “They are one size fits all so nobody walks away with an extra large when they wear a small.”

The race’s popularity has grown every year, with this year’s capacity at 3,250 participants and around 50 volunteers. People volunteering for the race could be high schoolers searching for service credit, or people who don’t want to run the course. Performing tasks like passing out hats, patrolling the course, and the aid station, volunteers are a huge help to the program. 

Although The Flying Turkey 5k is a fully profitable company, they work with many charities. Some, like the Evanston Food Pantry and Vault D65 have been working with the race since year one, while others just started like a local homeless shelter. At the race, you can donate all kinds of lightly used winter clothes and shoes, as well as  canned and non-perishable foods to the food pantry to help someone in need enjoy their  Thanksgiving dinner as well.  

ETHS sophomore, Cathrine De los Reyes,  has participated in the race in past years.. 

¨My favorite part is how it became a tradition,¨ she stated. For the past 4 years she has been running the 5k with her mom and occasionally her sister. Her favorite part of the race is spending time with family and friends, and enjoying all the food and drinks at the end.

There are three times that you can start running. If you are looking for a more competitive race, you can start the run at 9:00 a.m. If you are just running for fun, the starting time is 9:05 and if you want to walk you start at 9:08.  The course stays on the street or sidewalk, taking routes through Northwestern’s campus, and loops around through Evanston. The start and end are on Sheridan road, which is closed down for the event.

Overall, the race is a good time to get some exercise before Thanksgiving dinner. People running have a good time and people volunteering get credit and are a bigger part of the event. Evanston as a whole should be thankful for the Flying Turkey 5k and what it does to bring our community closer.