OCEANSIDE — As the 18th annual O’side Turkey Trot approaches, its new owners are gearing up to host the same successful event that trotters of all ages have come to know and enjoy.
The O’side Turkey Trot is recognized as one of the top Thanksgiving trots in the country by Runner’s World Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. According to San Diego Running Co., the event attracts visitors from 46 states, 460 countries and thousands of Southern Californians annually.
Organizers expect about 8,000 trotters this year. Combined with spectators and volunteers, the event will attract approximately 10,000 people to downtown Oceanside on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23.
San Diego Running Co. bought the O’side Turkey Trot from Kinane Events earlier this year.
Kathy Kinane, award-winning race director who co-founded the trot in 2006 along with Richard Muscio, contacted the San Diego-based company about taking over the trot in the spring. By the beginning of summer, the ownership had officially changed.
Eric Marenburg, chief running officer and co-founder of San Diego Running Co., founded the company in 2013 with President Pete Hess. The two running enthusiasts had known Kinane for some time through networking and as a mentor.
“I remember one time when she said as a joke that we would maybe buy the Turkey Trot from her one day, and years later here we are,” Marenburg said.
San Diego Running Co. has grown from operating three events with less than 1,000 participants to 10 events with 30,000 people. Of those events, all based in San Diego County, the company owns six, including the O’side Turkey Trot and operates four for other clients.
“As we searched for the right successors, Eric, Pete and their team exhibited the very high level of execution and creativity necessary to provide a bright future for the Trot,” Kinane previously said. “I look forward to supporting their efforts – and to finally trotting in the race myself.”
The O’side Turkey Trot is now San Diego Running Co.’s most significant event overall and its first in North County.
With Kinane involved as a race advisor, the running company plans to keep the event exactly the same as in years past.
“It’s already a phenomenal event with great success and charitable and economic impacts,” Marenburg said. “It really takes putting on an event a year or two to understand the complexity of its operations, so our focus is to have it look and feel the same as we learn.”
Participants of all ages can run, walk or trot in timed 5-mile, 5K or children’s races. Trotters also receive t-shirts, digital photos and participation medals.
Race winners are determined between different age groups and can receive trophies and gift cards from local restaurants and businesses. The event also includes a costume contest and the largest team contest.
A portion of the registration funds goes to either a local charity of the participant’s choice or the Move Your Feet Before You Eat Foundation. The Turkey Trot has raised nearly $500,000 for local charities over the last 17 years and anticipates raising another $25,000 this year.
Participants can register for the O’side Turkey Trot by visiting www.osideturkeytrot.com. The race accepts trotters through event day. However, Marenburg encourages people to sign up sooner to ensure they receive the correct t-shirt size.
Marenburg thanked sponsors like Visit Oceanside, MainStreet Oceanside, Frontwave Credit Union and Ace Hardware for assisting with the Turkey Trot and helping them connect with partners in the North County region.
Also on Thanksgiving is the Encinitas Turkey Trot, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. For more information, visit the event’s website.