Mark Riley holds up the Turkey Trot T-shirt sponsor list on the back, pointing to the empty spaces where sponsors are still pending. Riley notes that he needs sponsors, donations, volunteers, and people to register for the race.
Photo by Eden Brown.
What’s more fun than running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day? Going to the kick-off party for the Turkey Trot at the Crystal City Sports Pub on Oct. 19, according to Turkey Trot Director Mark Riley. Riley, who was at the Arlington Thrive “Boots, Bingo, and Barbecue” fundraiser on Saturday, showed off his Turkey Trot tee shirt and talked about the Trot. This is the 11th year of the Turkey Trot. It started in 2006 when the new pastor at Christ Church of Arlington, Brian Webster, wanted to see what he could do as a newly arrived pastor, to reach out to the community.
There were 275 runners and walkers that first year: it was pouring rain. Last year there were over 5,000 runners and walkers. Riley was the board representative from Doorways that first year, and he noted with pride how the race has grown in size and reputation.
Riley said the Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods “sort of “own” the Turkey Trot. “It’s a huge community event and everyone comes out to have fun and benefit local safety net organizations like Doorways for Women and Families.”
Bridges to Independence and Doorways were the first to receive funds from the Trot back in 2006: A-SPAN and AFAC came in 2008. Linden Resources has also been a beneficiary in the past. This is the first year Arlington Thrive is on the list of beneficiaries for the event, which makes sense, explained Riley, because they are an integral part of the other four organizations’ efforts.
The kick-off party for the Trot used to be at the church, but Riley and others like the fact that it now includes happy hour food, beer, raffles, and DJ Reggie. John Vihstadt, Arlington County Board member, and Brian Webster, Trot Founder and pastor of Christ Church, will make short remarks. Clients of the organizations who benefit will also speak, briefly. The race is still looking for sponsors and local organizations are welcome to join in the fun. For more information, see www.arlingtontrukeytrot.org.