Turkey trot to support food pantry, celebrate community

Homer’s 5K Turkey Trot Fun Run/Walk returns this year on Thanksgiving Day, along with a food drive supporting the Homer Community Food Pantry.

Organized by the City of Homer Community Recreation in partnership with the Kachemak Bay Running Club, the trot has been going on at least a decade, Mike Illg, the City of Homer community recreation manger, said Monday.

Illg said the turkey trot, with its noncompetitive nature and relaxed atmosphere, is an essential piece of community awareness and belonging.

“(The turkey trot) gives us a chance to really appreciate and reflect on what a wonderful community we live in by doing something active outside together, and at the same time, we’re helping those less fortunate by getting some food for the food pantry,” Illg said.

Illg said holiday runs are integral to Thanksgiving tradition.

Typically some of the year’s busiest holiday runs with the most participants fall on Thanksgiving, he said.

“Anywhere you go on Thanksgiving, there’s always some sort of a turkey trot or a run, and it’s so fun and festive,” Illg said.

“It doesn’t even matter if you know these people or not, it’s just a really nice thing to do on Thanksgiving morning.”

Illg asked that any participants in the turkey trot show up to the Homer High School Commons at 9:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, to register.

The run is free to attend, but people are asked to bring two nonperishable food items.

The items act as both a donation to the Homer food pantry, as well as the key to getting a ticket for door prizes in a raffle.

“Once you bring the (food items) you get a ticket for the door prizes that I bought personally,” Illg said.

“(The food drive) isn’t something that’s always been implemented, but it was something that we thought about and said, ‘Yeah, we can easily do this’.”

Illg said the trot starts from the registration area at the high school, and then runners can run, walk — or trot at any speed in between — along the 5K loop that travels toward East End Road.

The pace of the race doesn’t matter much in Illg’s perspective. He just wants to see people participating.

“You can just walk to the end of the parking lot and back. There’s no pressure to compete, other than come on outside and join us. … This is just another opportunity to help those less fortunate.”