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November 15, 2012
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Get moving on Thanksgiving at Grand Junction Turkey Trot

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - To burn some calories before Thanksgiving dinner, organizers of the sixth annual Grand Junction Turkey Trot 5K invite everyone - families, friends, the young and old, even dogs - to this active holiday event on Thursday, Nov. 22. The run will kick off at 9 a.m., and the race starts and finishes at Soar Physical Therapy, 2497 Power Rd."The 5K (3.1-mile) course enters Connected Lakes State Park and returns on the Colorado River Trail," the GJ Turkey Trot website said. "This is a family event - kids, strollers and leashed animals (are) welcome."Event organizer Jason Whitesides said the course is a "certified 5K," and the event welcomes competitive runners, as well as joggers and walkers."We get quite a few competitive runners, but we also promote family and strollers," Whitesides added. "The vibe is predominantly family oriented. Last year, a family of 30 participated together. Our oldest competitor (in 2011) was 84 ... and we also had babies in strollers."The Turkey Trot isn't just about exercise, however. The run will also act as a fundraiser for three organizations -the Colorado Professional Firefighter Foundation, Toys for Tots, and the Grand Junction Firefighter Foundation.All three benefiting organizations were chosen to assure that all funds raised would go directly to the people who need help, Whitesides said. Money raised will benefit injured firefighters and their families locally and statewide, plus children, over the holiday season.In 2011, the GJ Turkey Trot raised approximately $12,000 and hosted 1,200 trotters."Every year its been 30 percent higher than the last year," Whitesides said. "Our main goal is to just get people out there. We expect somewhere around 1,500 runners and I would like to hit the $18,000 mark" in terms of fundraising efforts in 2012.Whitesides, who's also a Grand Junction firefighter, noted that he started the event six years ago with fellow firefighter Wes Engbarth because they wanted to create an active way to give back to the community."We get tons of help from a lot of people on the fire department, plus the Junior Service League," he said.Early registration ends 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. To run, pre-registered adults pay $25 and kids cost $15. A guaranteed T-shirt is also part of the pre-registration price. Runners may also register the day of the event - adults are $35 and kids are $15 - though T-shirts may not be available for those who register on Thanksgiving."Same-day registration will be from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the same plaza as Soar Physical Therapy," Whitesides said. "Also, we get a bunch of turkeys that we give away to the biggest family participating and random giveaways for best costume and just overall creativity of runners."A pumpkin-pancake breakfast will additionally be held after the race for all participants. Prizes will be given to the top three runners in both men's and women's categories. For more information about the GJ Turkey Trot or to pre-register online, visit

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 15, 2012 03:23PM Published Nov 15, 2012 03:20PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.