Before giving thanks, give back at Issaquah Turkey Trot

November 15, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Burn some calories before the feast at the Issaquah Turkey Trot, a Thanksgiving Day benefit for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Issaquah Turkey Trot organizer and Issaquah resident Heather Matthews said the morning run is a chance for residents to benefit the community on the holiday.

The inaugural Issaquah Turkey Trot started last year after some early morning snowfall, days after a sudden snowstorm nailed the Puget Sound region.

Matthews, then eight months pregnant, did not expect runners to head out into the cold, although 320 people had signed up for the run in the days before Thanksgiving.

“I didn’t even know if anybody was going to show up, and we actually had about 250 of them show up,” she said. “I was shocked.”

What to know

Issaquah Turkey Trot

  • Nov. 24
  • 8:30 a.m. — day-of registration and T-shirt pick-up
  • 9 a.m. — race starts
  • The entry fee for adults and children older than 10 is $20.
  • The route starts and ends at Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave N.W.
  • Learn more about the Issaquah Turkey Trot, and find volunteer opportunities, at the race website,

The runners pushed ahead, and all but some patches of snow melted from the course in time for the 9 a.m. start.

The initial outing raised more than $4,600 — crucial funds as need for the food bank increases amid the holiday season.

The race lacks the traditional 5K trimmings — bibs, numbers, prizes and the like. Instead, aside from a small amount for overhead — T-shirts, permits, etc. — the donations go to the food bank. Organizers also collect clothing and nonperishable foods at the starting line on Thanksgiving.

“My audience is more the family — a more casual way to give back Thanksgiving morning,” Matthews said.

The upcoming race incorporates feedback from participants and includes numerous repeat runners from last Thanksgiving.

Matthews ran in the Seattle Turkey Trot in 2008 and 2009, a Thanksgiving Day run to benefit the Ballard Food Bank.

“The last year I went it was getting really big and crowded, and when I went there, I saw all of these people from our community that I knew,” Matthews said. “I thought, ‘I could start this in Issaquah and give to my own food bank.’”

The holiday run is geared for avid and casual runners alike. Organizers encourage participants to don Thanksgiving-themed costumes and accessories for the route along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and Northwest Sammamish Road.

“I am not a runner at all,” Matthews said. “The most I’ve ever run was the 5K at the Seattle Turkey Trot.”

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