ALEXANDRIA, VA- 6,000 people from Alexandria and D.C. area gathered for the 48thAlexandria Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. a fun-filled Thanksgiving morning tradition hosted by the Del Ray Business Association for runners and walkers alike. In addition to all those eager racers in running shoes gathered at the starting line were two of Alexandria’s Living Legends, who led the event as this year’s Grand Marshals, retired Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and retired educator John Porter.
It was an early start for those taking part, some of whom brought their whole families along. But the weather was perfect for it with temperatures at around 53°F. Runners picked up their packets at 7:30 am and kicked off their run at 9:00 am. The race concluded at 10:30 am after which the awards ceremony commenced.
The first ever Alexandria Turkey Trot event took place in 1975 and 244 runners reportedly took part, with Jack Mehurin taking first place at 25:07minutes.
The following year, it was 400 runners. In 2012 the venue moved to George Washington Middle School where the turkey trotters of all ages and backgrounds gathered this morning.This year more than 6000 participants joined the event. Braddock Road Station, the closest metro to the event was swarmed with runners, volunteers and onlookers.
Good friends Katie Brisco and Angela Elder who live in the area spoke to Zebra Press having just finished their run.
“We’ve been friends since college,” says Brisco, “we’re just casual runners, but we had to come to the Turkey Trot, it’s our annual tradition!” “We’ve been doing this for ten years,” says Elder.
The Ernst family was also there to take part in this tradition.“We aren’t avid runners, but we wanted to come and do something as a family,” says Amy Ernst, who ran with her husband and three daughters.
There were many four legged friends who came to take part in the race too. Some ran the trail and others waited patiently at the finish line.
But it wasn’t just runners who made this event special. Volunteers from the non-profit organization ALIVE were there to collect food donations for Alexandrians in need. ALIVE! is the oldest and largest private safety net in the City of Alexandria dedicated to fighting poverty and by providing help with family assistance, food, furniture and housewares.
Karl Bach who is the Volunteer Coordinator for ALIVE! said runners as well as other members of the community have come to donate. “Around 1200 pounds of food have been donated already,” he told Zebra Press, “This will get sorted through by the volunteers and staff over the next few days and will go to those in need in the coming week.”
Tiffany, another volunteer, says this is her first time doing the race with ALIVE!. “I’m involved with the charity professionally and I know how important volunteer work is, so I came here to give back to the community. I found out about ALIVE through Volunteer Alexandria.”
An $8000 donation, gained through ticket sales was donated by the Alexandria Turkey Trot to ALIVE, which will help the organization continue to distribute 20,000 meals a day in Alexandria per month.
Lenora Robinson is another volunteer who was at the event feeding the hungry. But she was not affiliated with any charity or organization. She’s just a generous and thoughtful Alexandrian who wanted to do something kind for the runners and their families. “I enjoy volunteering and giving back. I know what it means to be hungry. I want to serve my community.”
Everyone who took part was there to give back to the community and share this fun experience with their friends and family, but this was after all a race and there were of course winners:
In the men’s division:
Willie Fink ran first at 22:50 minutes, 4:34 MIN/MI pace. (Fink also finished first in the 2022 Turkey Trot)
Zach Herriott was second at 23:48, 4:46 MIN/MI pace.
Yenew Getahun came in third at 23:54, 4:47 pace.
In the women’s division:
Samantha Nadel finished first at 26:32, 05:19 MIN/MI pace.
Alyssa Taylor was second at 27:53, 5:35MIN/MI pace.
Marta Mekonen came in third at 28:10, 05:38 MIN/MI pace.
For more pictures, see The Zebra Press Facebook page below.