GREENFIELD — Hours before many would sit down before a holiday feast, hundreds of people got in a Thanksgiving Day workout Thursday.
More than 300 people put on their running shoes and hit the streets on Thanksgiving morning for the second-annual Turkey Day 5K.
The event, which raises money for the Hope House homeless shelter and the Greenfield Pennsy Trail, doubled its registrations despite the frosty chill in the air Thursday morning, with runners wearing hats and gloves dashing to complete a 3.1-mile or 1-mile race. Last year, some 150 people came out for the inaugural event, said organizer Shelley Swift.
Participants gathered in the Hancock County Memorial Building, 98 E. North St., to stay warm before the race began; after they finished, they were provided snacks and drinks.
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Organizers for the run included the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department; the Hope House, the county’s sole homeless shelter; and Hancock Health.
The proceeds from last year’s event, about $4,000, were used to purchase exercise equipment installed on the the Pennsy Trail Fitness Park, located just east of Center Street on the Pennsy Trail, said parks superintendent Ellen Kuker.
This year’s proceeds will purchase another piece of equipment, a leg press, and will aid the Hope House in renovating the men’s dormitory of the homeless shelter, Swift said.
Kuker hopes proceeds from future races will help the parks department purchase kid-friendly exercise equipment for the trail, she said.
Adult winners of the 5K race received a free frozen turkey, while the kids who completed the 1-mile fun run the fastest received a free pass to the Riley Pool for next summer, Swift said.
Swift was thrilled to see more people sign up and come out for Thursday’s 5K event, she said.
“It’s a great alternative to the bigger 5Ks on Thanksgiving,” she said. “I hope it continues to grow and grow.”
Families took the opportunity to participate in the event together. Greenfield resident Luke Dunn, 7, ran the 1-mile fun run with his aunt while his parents took part in the 5K.
Luke and his aunt, Laura Chandler of Indianapolis, cheered them on as they crossed the finish line.
Jennifer Comastri of Indianapolis was the top women’s finisher for the race both this year and last year. Last year, she decided to sign up because she wanted to run in the morning, and her experience during the Thanksgiving Day 5K brought her back again, she said.
She loved seeing organizers in silly turkey hats and racers in costume, she said.
“Everyone’s so nice, and the town is pretty and nice to run through,” she added.