Lifestyle

‘Turkey Trot’ helps kids stay in shape

From left, Andrew Griffin and Joshua Fenner, both 7 years old, finish neck-and-neck with the turkey in the second- and third-grade division of the Nov. 20 ‘Turkey Trot.’ - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Andrew Griffin and Joshua Fenner, both 7 years old, finish neck-and-neck with the turkey in the second- and third-grade division of the Nov. 20 ‘Turkey Trot.’
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Turkey tends to add pounds to many people’s waistlines during the holiday season, but for the past 21 years the city of Marysville has been using one big turkey to help area kids stay in shape.

Close to 30 children from kindergarten through fifth grade came out for a chilly but sunny morning of running laps at the Jennings Memorial Park baseball field Nov. 20, as the city’s “Turkey Trot” began anew.

“This level of attendance is about normal for what we usually have,” said Marysville Parks Athletic Coordinator Dave Hall, as four kindergarten students lined up to do a 100-yard dash, catch their breath, then do another 100-yard dash back to their starting point, all with the city’s six-foot-tall T-shirt-wearing turkey helping to set the pace. “It’s rained on many other days that we’ve done this, though. We lucked out. This is a really nice day.”

A bigger crowd of first-graders ran a full lap around the baseball field, while an even larger lineup of second- and third-graders completed two laps, with each of the groups working to keep pace with the turkey, whom Hall laughingly noted was a distance runner. Only three kids from the fourth and fifth grade took part in the final heat of three laps around the field.

Joshua Fenner and Andrew Griffin, both 7 years old, finished neck-and-neck with the turkey in the second- and third-grade division, and offered similar advice for other young runners.

“I didn’t want to slip, so I just kept my pace,” said Fenner, whose mother, Kalihma, described him as an “off-and-on” runner.

“I’d say the same thing my brother told me,” Griffin said. “Start slow at the beginning and run really fast at the end.”

Griffin’s father, Steve, described his son as a fan of “anything sports,” but added that this was Andrew’s first time running.

Fellow 7-year-old Kristian Amezcua took part in the run as part of his ongoing healthy lifestyle.

“When he was 3 years old, he had surgery because he had heart tissue that was blocking the flow of his blood and making his heart pump four times as hard,” said Amezcua’s mother, Sybil Garcia.

“Now I do a lot of exercise and eat healthy,” Amezcua said.

After the runs were done, Parks staff raffled off eight game hens and two large turkeys to the attendees. Julian Nelson-Sellers and Devon Darden easily carried their small game hens, but Hayden Jacobs nearly tipped over as he tried to carry a turkey that almost looked as big as him.

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