OCEANSIDE — More than 7,500 people are expected to move their feet before they eat this Thanksgiving for the 16th annual O’side Turkey Trot.
The holiday run and fundraiser will return to its regular live and in-person format after holding a virtual event last year due to the pandemic.
Founded in 2006 by Kathy Kinane and Richard Muscio, the O’side Turkey Trot has been recognized as one of the country’s top races on Thanksgiving morning by Runner’s Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Turkey trots invite people to exercise early in the morning on Thanksgiving by running or walking before they go stuff their stomachs with food later.
O’side Turkey Trot has grown in popularity over the years, having started with a strong 2,200 participants its first year and as many as 9,900 in 2015. This year, Kinane expects about 7,500 people to join.
“About half of those people are new to the turkey trot,” Kinane said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the turkey trot was moved to a virtual setting last year. Rather than having all of its participants come to the Strand and Pier, trotters were able to participate elsewhere but still keep track of their pace and their times through an app.
Kinane is excited to see so many new faces at this year’s turkey trot.
“Can you believe that many people want to wake up early and move their feet on Thanksgiving?” she said. “I love it!”
While many are new to the Turkey Trot, there are still a handful of those dedicated trotters who have been participating since its first year.
Tara Torburn, a long-time volunteer and creative director for the California Surf Museum, has been one of those dedicated trotters. She was convinced by her friend, Zell Dwelley of Beach Break Cafe, to run the first year.
“Zell had just finished the 60-mile walk for Susan G Komen,” Torburn said. “She said to do the Turkey Trot with her and I said no way.”
But Torburn ended up running in that first Turkey Trot and has been doing so ever since. She’s even won second place in her age group twice and in third place another year.
“I would have been first in my age group last year based on my time, but they weren’t keeping rankings,” she said.
Last year, Torburn wasn’t able to run on Thanksgiving morning but she was able to run and keep track of her time as a Turkey Trot participant the following day since it was a virtual trot instead of in person.
“I live close by so I ran almost the same course,” she said.
Torburn is looking forward to the energy from everyone participating this year.
“Just to participate and be within the energy of everyone present to be able to do this along our beautiful coastline, and to be out moving our feet before we eat on Thanksgiving is a great way to start the day,” Torburn said. “I run by myself, but I still love to be around the energy of everyone else.”
Torburn hopes to find more people to run as part of the California Surf Museum team, which runners/walkers can choose to join at sign-up.
The O’side Turkey Trot also serves as a fundraiser for multiple local organizations like the Surf Museum. Participants can choose which beneficiary will receive their donations. To sign up, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/Oceanside/OceansideTurkeyTrot.