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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Evanston’s Flying Turkey 5K sets new event record with 3,200 registered participants

The+race+started+and+ended+just+south+of+Northwesterns+main+campus.
The race started and ended just south of Northwestern’s main campus.

The annual Flying Turkey 5K on Thanksgiving morning is an ongoing tradition that many Evanston residents take part in each year. The event, which started in 2011, has always attracted a large portion of the community, but this year hosted a record number of runners.

“This year we sold out. It was the most we’ve ever had. We had 3,200 registered participants, which is amazing,” said founder and race director Jonathan Cain.

In addition to hosting the actual race, the organizers of the Flying Turkey 5K partner with many local charities, one being Evanston Vineyard Food Pantry, which has been a partner since the race’s inception.

“People either donate cash to the pantry or give cans at the food drive that we do. The cans fill up a whole van,” said Cain. “Vineyard Food Pantry has been on board ever since we started, so they’re great partners to have and they’re super grateful to all of the runners and whoever donates to them.”

Both CARE (Community Animal Rescue Effort) and the ERC (Evanston Running Club) are also contributors to the 5K’s charitable efforts.

The course took participants along Evanston’s lakefront.

“[The ERC] did a shoe drive. The club has a different partner that they work with but they collect shoes at our race and donate them to their charity partner,” said Cain. “It’s really nice to work with a club in the area to help them with some of their goals.”

The charitable aspect of the event is matched by the positive running culture surrounding it. For many, it is an essential Thanksgiving tradition.

“I love starting out Thanksgiving with running and activity before eating a bunch of food and I love getting the family out there. Also, just the fact that it’s 3,000 people in the community all out there is really cool,” said Kevin Boes, a 10-time participant.

Cain’s unique role in the race adds another dimension of community fun.

“I’m probably a little different than other race directors because I do actually go out there and run in a turkey costume,” said Cain. “I’m kind of like a really bad Disney character. That’s probably my favorite thing to do because it’s fun, it’s goofy and it’s something that’s memorable.”

In the future, Cain has no intention of stopping the annual tradition.

“The race is just something that has really been embraced by the community and hopefully it’ll just keep going on,” he said.

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Rosie Witt, Assistant News Editor
Hey! My name is Rosie Witt (she/her) and I am a junior, and this is my third year on staff for The Evanstonian. I am an Assistant Editor for News and have written for News and Feature as well! I love being on The Evanstonian because it is such a great community and has truly helped me become a stronger writer. It has also been a fantastic experience for improving my journalistic skills. Outside of The Evanstonian, I am on the ETHS varsity softball team and I dance at Dance Center Evanston. Hope you all enjoy all of the incredible aspects The Evanstonian has to offer!! Peace out. 
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