19th annual Turkey Trot in Greeley draws a costumed crowd | MyWindsorNow.com

19th annual Turkey Trot in Greeley draws a costumed crowd

Tommy Simmons
tsimmons@greeleytribune.com

Mark Kwast ran the Turkey Trot four times before this year, but never in a costume. So when he found himself at the finish line of North Colorado Medical Center's 19th annual 5K Thanksgiving Day race with a plastic t-rex suit hanging from his shoulders, it was a first.

"It was insanely hot," he said. "There was this (seam) in the (costume's) neck that kept hitting me in the eyeball. I was wearing glasses, but they fogged up."

Kwast wasn't the only runner to dress up for Thursday's race. Of the 2,700 participants who turned out, some sported turkey costumes or turkey hats, bundled tight against the frosty morning wind. A Pikachu and a teddy bear were in the crowd gathered at the starting line outside the hospital.

Dressing up is fun, but it's also a chance to earn some money. The race includes a costume contest with a $100 cash prize for first place.

It's all part of a fundraising event to raise money for the Cardiovascular Institute of North Colorado at NCMC.

"(The money) benefits the cardiac and pulmonary rehab," said Susan Bush, the supervisor of cardiac rehabilitation. "It helps people with no insurance, or not enough money, who have had hearts attacks or lung problems. There are a lot of people who wouldn't be able to participate without this help."

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Bush said the hospital measures the event's impact based on how many patients it helped – last year, for example, she estimated about 250 people were helped because of Turkey Trot money.

The event includes two race, a 5K and a 2K. The winner of the 5K was Gebrekidan Abadi, who ran the race in 14 minutes and 41 seconds. Abadi emigrated from Ethiopia eight months ago. Landon Fanning won the 2K, running it in 7 minutes, 59 seconds.

Others took their time. Because of his dinosaur costume, Kwast completed it in slightly more than 30 minutes. Others didn't run at all.

"I walk," said Brent Koller of Milliken. "I did my running in the service and that was enough of that."

Weather for the race was crisp and windy, but it was an improvement over last year, when runners braved falling snow and cold gusts.

"Last year was horrible," said Maureen St. Peter as she held a sign directing cars to a nearby parking lot. "It was cold and rainy and snowy."

St. Peter works for NCMC and has been involved with the Turkey Trot for about 10 years. Sometimes she runs the race. Other times she volunteers. She remembers years when she stood on the race's sidelines and cheered people on with bells and clappers.

Bush estimated between 100 and 150 people volunteered this year.

The race started wrapping up about 9:45 a.m., and contestants began to head home to work on their Thanksgiving Day meals. Kwast said he was going to go home and being cooking, then head to Estes Park.

"We'll probably be finished around noon," Bush said. "And then I'll go home and try to have Thanksgiving. I love doing this."

Results

5K

1. Gebrekidan Abadi – 14:41

2. Mason Frank – 15:23

3. Craig Hunt – 15:57

2K

1. Landon Fanning – 7:59

2. Traejan Andrews – 8:35

3. Josh Polson – 8:59

A complete list is available at http://www.finishlinetiming.com/2016-results-ncmc-turket-trot.