Thanksgiving 5K event continues to expand in Hamilton: What to know

Organizers are hoping 1,000 runners will participate in this year’s Thanksgiving Day 5K event. It has grown every year since it started. PROVIDED
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Organizers are hoping 1,000 runners will participate in this year’s Thanksgiving Day 5K event. It has grown every year since it started. PROVIDED

The Thanksgiving Day 5K and fun run for children, which grew from 30 runners in 2015 to 714 last year, will happen again this year in Hamilton’s Highland Park neighborhood, with more happenings than in the past.

This year, organizers hope 1,000 runners will participate in the event that will start and finish at Wilson Middle School and wind through the neighborhood’s streets.

“We continue to gain more sponsors,” said spokeswoman Kamie Dixon. “This year we’re looking I think 100 volunteers to make it work.”

Proceeds from the race finance the YoungLives ministry, which now helps 30 teen mothers and their children, Dixon said. Last year's event raised $17,000 for the program, and covered the cost of sending the moms and their children to camp.

Resident Katie Powers started the race to provide fun recreation on Thanksgiving. Dixon said YoungLives offers friendship, mentoring and support to the mothers.

“One of the boons of working with this particular ministry is that you get to impact two generations at the same time,” she said. “It’s amazing to watch a teen walk through that process. So I have the utmost respect for them, and anything that we can do to help support and encourage is just a real gift.”

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The fun run will happen at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 5K at 9 a.m. There will be “Turkey Bowling” for kids and adults — using frozen turkeys as the “balls” to knock down bowling pins — while the 5K is happening. There also will be a photo booth.

There will be nine age categories, with winners receiving a cutting board with a turkey emblem on it.

Runners can register at Hamiltonthanksgiving5k.org. Registration is $30, including a long-sleeved shirt. The fun run is free, unless the children want a T-shirt, which costs $10.

Area churches have been offering help to the YoungLives program, Dixon said.

“We have had almost 30 women come forward to say that they would be interested in some type of mentoring help,” she said. “Everything comes in seasons, but right now, we’re enjoying a real exciting and blossoming one.”

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