Organizers believe a record number of participants graced the 37th edition of the Alexandria Turkey Trot on Thursday.
More than 4,600 runners, walkers and stroller-pushers signed up prior to race day, with several hundred more registering in a small window before Thursday morning's starting gun.
The 5-mile trot, which sends runners through the streets of Del Ray and Rosemont, was staged at George Washington Middle School for the second straight year. Organizers made the move last year to make the race Metro accessible and to provide a bigger staging area. Thursday's race started at 9 a.m., an hour earlier than previous years, in an effort to open up the roads to vehicle traffic more quickly.
“This is a wonderful event,” said John Reynolds, race chair with the Del Ray Business Association. The DRBA and the DC Road Runners Club sponsor and coordinate the race. “We’re close to a record number of runners. … I want to thank all of the neighbors who accommodate and support this event.”
A portion of the proceeds from the race benefit ALIVE!, a nonprofit organization consisting of volunteers from more than 40 religious congregations and community groups working to help Alexandrians in need. Runners were also asked to bring two non-perishable food items to donate.
“Thanks for coming out not only to participate but because you are raising food for our shelters and to help those in Northern Virginia in need,” Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said just before the race kicked off. “Not only is this an opportunity for exercise, but this is an opportunity to give back and help. … I believe organizers received a record collection number [of food] to donate.”
Josef Tessema took top honors on Thursday, finishing the race in 23 minutes, 38 seconds. Susanna Sullivan was the first female to cross the finish line. She finished in 27:40.
Wayan Vota took top honors in the field for runners with dogs with a time of 35:44. Michael Gartner finished first among runners with strollers in 33:08.
Euille, who cheered on runners at the starting line (which also served as the finish line), said he planned on spending the rest of Thanksgiving relaxing with family and friends and watching some football.
“We’ll maybe have two or three meals in between,” he said.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley, who ran in the Turkey Trot along with Councilman Frank Fannon and Councilman-elect Justin Wilson, had a simpler schedule for his Thanksgiving.
“Run. Cook. Then eat,” he said.
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