Hundreds of runners and walkers of all ages took over the Turf Arena in IM Sports-West on Sunday afternoon to raise money for the American Lung Association.
Participants gathered in the Turf Arena to register and warm up for the 11th annual Cold Turkey Trot, a 5K run sponsored by the American Lung Association in conjunction with Olin Health Center.
Jonathan Kermiet, a health educator at Olin Health Center, said the number of participants in the run was formidable, especially since the temperatures lingered close to 41 degrees Sunday afternoon.
I think the turnouts great, especially on a day like this, said Kermiet, who helped organize the event. Weve had about 400 runners turn out and we expect about 600 overall.
Prizes included trophies and certificates for free turkeys to those with the fastest times. A mountain bike was given to the runner or walker who raised the highest amount of money in pledges, and the person with the second highest pledge amount won a subscription to a local health club.
Participants registered for the event as early as two weeks in advance and as late as half an hour before the event. The entry fee was waived for those who brought in $50 or more in pledges.
Kermiet said the goal this year was to raise about $12,000 in pledges, and he said the pledges were rolling in.
One person actually brought in $400 worth of pledges, he said.
All proceeds from the fund-raiser went to the American Lung Association for asthma education, smoking-cessation and clean air programs.
But giving pledges wasnt the only way for people to show their support. Participants in the Turkey Trot had the option of dedicating the race to a tobacco user to encourage them to quit, or to those who have given up tobacco in support of their efforts.
Participants ranged in age from younger than 10 years old to older than 65. Owosso resident Nicholas Butcher fell in the former category.
When asked what encouraged him to participate in Sundays race, Butcher replied simply, My mom.
Were actually going to be walking together, said Christy Green, Butchers mother, who was also walking with a group of her co-workers. We are dedicating the race to a co-workers mother.
In addition to the 5K race, there was a one-mile kids Fun Run. Those who finished the race were rewarded with stickers, buttons and cheers - a few of which came from Drew Olson.
The parks and recreation sophomore stood at the finish line to cheer all the participants. And he wasnt hard to miss - he was the one wearing the giant turkey costume, complete with bright red tights.
One of Olsons classes - Parks, Recreation and Tourism Resources 215 - helped organize the event as part of a class project.
Its for a good cause, so I dont mind dressing up and coming out for it, Olson said.