Turkey trot organizers and racers countdown from ten

Boys from Kalamazoo's chapter of Let Me Run excitedly wait at the starting line as Turkey Trot organizers and racers countdown from ten in order to signal the starting of the race. 

Kalamazoo community members came out in droves for Saturday’s frosty morning annual Thanksgiving 5K.

Western Michigan University hosted its annual Turkey Trot at the Student Recreation Center on Saturday, November 23. The run began at 8:30 a.m. and went until the last runners came trotting in, finishing around 11.The run is an annual tradition for not just the community at WMU, but also for the greater Kalamazoo community. 

“It was our largest Turkey Trot we ever had, we had 1,140 participants, so that’s awesome,” said Mike Berdowski, the race director for the Turkey Trot.

Once runners finished the race, they could head to booths next to the finish line that included free massages, photo opportunities as well as some booths by local area running organizations like the Kalamazoo chapter of Let Me Run, a program focused on getting young boys running.

In addition to the large turnout of runners, there were also a number of volunteers posted around the course and at the finish line, tasked with keeping the energy up.

“It’s not just you cheering on people, it’s also you’re contributing to that energy of everybody, having a good time and getting exercise before all of that Thanksgiving meal stuff you’re going to have,” said Bella Violante, a Natural Resource Management student at WMU who volunteered at the event.

“If I’m not here we’re still going to keep doing it,” said Berdowski, talking about the lasting place the annual race has in the Kalamazoo community. 

Stretches and warm ups

Stretches and warm ups were led before participants made their way to the starting line. 

A runner keeps his muscles warm

David Johnson keeps his muscles warm in WMU's student rec center. Temperatures were as low as 19 degrees before the trot began. 

Shaking off jitters and cold

Shaking off jitters and cold, Colin Mulder of Otsego anxiously waits for the start of the race. Mulder would later finish second overall. 

Runners overcame the cold

Runners overcame the cold, touring WMU campus on the morning of Nov. 23, 2019. 

Two of the 1,140 runners

AJ Boucher of Richland happily makes his way past the halfway mark near Haenicke Hall. 

The sun rises

The sun rises as Cassandra Coffey and her son of Marcellous move through campus. 

Runners, walkers and even pups

Runners, walkers and even pups joined in on the 67th annual WMU turkey trot. 

From left,

From left, Taylor Jones of Paw Paw, Allison Hug of Paw Paw, Tim Titus of Kalamazoo, and Laura Strunk of Kalamazoo. 

Runners make their way past the 3k mark

Runners make their way past the 3k mark near North Kohrman Hall. The sun was much welcomed to participants trying to keep warm. 

Kyle Petronio of Kalamazoo

Kyle Petronio of Kalamazoo smiles while watching friends cross the finish line. Petronio finished 10th overall with a time of 18:45. 

Volunteers hand out medals

Volunteers hand out medals to all of the finishers of the 67th annual Turkey Trot.  

Zoey Chittick of Kalamazoo

Zoey Chittick of Kalamazoo receives her Turkey Trot medal after crossing the finish line. 

The turkey trot finish line

The turkey trot finish line in the student rec center. 

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