Southern Oregon's Turkey Trot has carved out a niche as both local runners and holiday visitors usually gobble up applications for the Thanksgiving Day run.
Some 300 runners inaugurated the run eight years ago and the field grew to 1,000 last year. So far about 500 people are signed up for this year's event and organizers hope to see even more.
"The reason it's so important to have a great turnout is because of the great things ACCESS can do with the collected food and proceeds," said race founder Chuck Whiteley of the Southern Oregon Runners. "In a time when families in our valley could really use the help, ACCESS does amazing things with what they get."
In previous years, the Turkey Trot has produced between $4,000 and $9,000 for ACCESS.
"Our club was getting a lot of requests to do something fun for Thanksgiving to help burn all those calories," Whiteley said. "We wanted to have a short distance that anyone could do so we chose two miles."
The event attracted walkers as well as runners and quickly became a tradition for some families.
The Turkey Trot is staged at 3001 Samike Drive — just south of U.S. Cellular Park — and race headquarters are in the Rogue Rock Gym
The young ones get started first at 7:45 a.m. with a 100-meter Turkey Dash. Then the serious eaters take the stage with an eight-mile race at 8 a.m., followed by the two-mile race at 8:30.
The shorter race is a loop, while the eight-milers follow an out-and-back route on the Bear Creek Greenway.
"The time difference allows us to have most of the runners finish near the same time," Whiteley said.
The registration fees range from $7 to $20 for two- and eight-milers, while a canned-food donation works for the Turkey Dash. The family registration rate is $60. The family rate, however, does not include dogs, roller skaters, cyclists and skateboarders — all of whom are not allowed on the race route.
Packet pick-up is 2-7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, and 7-7:45 a.m. on race day.
— Greg Stiles