For the ninth consecutive year, Pleasanton North Rotary's Tri-Valley Turkey Burn is offering area residents a healthy way to start their Thanksgiving Day celebrations.
PNR is on track to attract more than 2,300 participants for its charity, 5K/10K family fun walk, run or stroll at Pleasanton's Ken Mercer Sports Park and nearby Mucho Arroyo Trail.
Past public support attests to the Turkey Burn as a community-wide event and annual tradition for many families and circles of friends, according to Planning Committee Chair Viviana Cherman. "We're always fine-tuning the event to add to its popularity," she said.
The Turkey Burn was inspired by digital pedometer inventor W. Ron Sutton, youth services leader Kevin Greenlee and other PNR members to give Tri-Valley residents a healthy way to celebrate the holiday. They spoke of how a 5K/10K family fun run would enable participants to burn off calories they were destined to consume around their Thanksgiving dinner tables.
Planning for the Turkey Burn has revolved around making the event affordable and convenient. Its website (www.trivalleyturkeyburn.org) is a one-stop, online location for registrations, payments, purchases of Turkey Burn t-shirts, socks and hats, as well as corporate and individual sponsorships. Registration costs $15 for adults, $10 for children and teens ages 10-to-17, and $5 for kids under 10.
Pre-race packets including bibs and instructions can be picked up next Wednesday (Nov. 22) at designated drive-thru facilities at Ken Mercer Sports Park or at the Turkey Burn staging area the morning of the event. See website for times and directions. Registrants are also encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to the park for donation to the Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry.
The gate opens at 7:30 a.m. Thursday (Nov. 23), with group stretching exercises at 8:45 a.m. and 10K and 5K walk/runs at 9 and 9:10 a.m. respectively. Everyone will finish by about 11 a.m., leaving ample time for Thanksgiving Day entertainment.
The Turkey Burn's iconic "I AM THANKFUL FOR ..." racing bibs have always been a big hit, Cherman noted. "It is hard to beat their ability to capture the spirit of the moment by encouraging everyone who wears a bib to announce to everybody else what they are thankful for," she said.
The social aspect of the Turkey Burn should not be overlooked. Nothing could be better than making memories with family members, old friends or while making new ones. Parents can guide their young ones in strollers. Obedient dogs on leashes are welcomed.
Rain or shine, the Turkey Burn will be run amidst the autumn colors of a November holiday morning in Pleasanton's sprawling Ken Mercer Sports Park.
Fundraising is another important dimension to the charity event. Funds from entry fees, souvenir sales and donations from Elation Real Estate of Pleasanton and more than 20 other corporate and individual sponsors support Pleasanton North Rotary's extensive youth service program.
The club's commitment to youth services includes scholarships to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp, support for the annual Richard D. King Youth Speech Contest, academic scholarships, Student of the Month awards, Rotary International Youth Exchange, Interact Club at Foothill High, and other programs that teach young people the value of community service. All instill in their participants the same "service above self" zeal that defines what it means to be a Rotarian.
At the finish line, everyone leaves as a winner with commemorative Turkey Burn medals on a red, white and blue lanyard.
"The medals are an expression of Pleasanton North Rotary's thanks to everyone finishing this year's Turkey Burn and helping make the Tri-Valley a friendly place to live," Cherman said.