The Coast News Group

Encinitas readies for inaugural Turkey Trot

ENCINITAS — The inaugural Encinitas Turkey Trot 5K and 10K will race down Coast Highway 101 Nov. 27. An estimated 2,000 runners and walkers will take part in the event.

The trot will begin at D Street under the Encinitas arch, and head south along Coast Highway. Participants in the 5K will make their way to the campground, and 10K runners will continue to Cardiff State Beach, before heading back to D Street to finish. Coast Highway will be closed to traffic during the race, with one northbound lane open.

Race founder and recreational runner Steve Lebherz also started the annual Cardiff Kook run.

Lebherz said he decided to put on the Turkey Trot to raise funds, and collect food donations for the North County Community Services Food Bank. The food bank distributes food to more than 100 local nonprofit groups that help families in need. “We knew there was a need for it,” Lebherz said.

Lebherz said the race is about getting out and exercising on Thanksgiving, and giving to those in need.

He said one in six families in North County are food insecure, and do not know when they will be eating their next meal.

“It’s a natural American thing to give thanks and help out,” Lebherz said. “People want to do something to help other people.”

Runners and spectators are encouraged to bring canned food donations on race day. There will also be donation bins at the pre-race day bib pickup site. Lebherz said donating now will help keep the food bank stocked up for the holiday season.

On race day runners will receive race T-shirts and participation medals. Top finishers in each age division will be awarded trophies. There will also be a costume contest with cash prizes.

Unlike the Cardiff Kook run there is no prize money for first finishers, and no elite runner division.

“It’s more about the food bank, and a family day,” Lebherz said.

He added the 5K is a great distance for recreational runners and walkers. He estimates walkers can finish the 5K in an hour.

“I think it’s the perfect distance for people to feel good about themselves,” Lebherz said. “Pretty much anyone can do that distance.”

Lebherz said Thanksgiving Day has become the largest running day in the U.S. Turkey trots are held throughout the country. A local Thanksgiving Day run will be held in Oceanside and two will take place in San Diego.