OCEANSIDE — This is the eighth year for the annual Oceanside Turkey Trot 5-mile fun run and a record 10,000 runners are expected to participate on Nov. 28.
“I’m excited there’s such a strong interest in the race,” Kathy Kinane, cofounder of the race and owner of Kinane Events, said. “It’s the largest single-day running event in North County.”
The annual fun run began in 2005 with a sizeable participation of 4,200 runners.
“We had a pretty good first year,” Kinane said.
The idea to hold the run in Oceanside was thought up years before it was first held.
Kinane and Richard Muscio, the co-founders of the race, had already organized Turkey Trot runs in other cities. Kinane had her sights set on holding a run in scenic Oceanside.
It was not until Oceanside installed the train underpass tunnel for pedestrians that a safe running route could be charted.
“I waited 20 years,” Kinane said. “Richard was the title sponsor the first year, it meant so much to him.”
Safety and fun have always been hallmarks of the race.
Last year 9,000 runners participated in the race. This year the race is limited to 10,000 runners to ensure safety and an open racecourse for runners. Runners are grouped for staggered starts of 500 to 800 athletes at a time so the course does not get congested and runners can make their best times.
“We want to provide a quality experience,” Kinane said. “We focus on it every year.”
Olympic athletes in training, and college and high school track team runners are among the participants.
Families also take on the run as way to bond and build memories.
A fun part of the run is the costume contest that encourages holiday theme dress for the Thanksgiving Day run.
Along the 5-mile running course there are inspirational race cheerleaders including people hula hooping and playing live music on the sidelines.
The idea of the run is to get families out and active on a day that people routinely stay at home.
The run’s purpose is also to remind people how fun it is to get out and run together.
“We want people to realize running is fun and feels good,” Kinane said. “It’s a great way to be social.”
The kids age 12 and under 1-mile run has always been a race highlight. It is now divided into age group categories to reduce racecourse crowding. The course layout allows kids to cross the official race finish line where each participant receives a medal and race backpack.
“We had the kids run from the beginning,” Kinane said. “We added more of them as the demand grew. There are so many we have separate runs for 6-, 5- and 4-year-olds.”
Adults get a participation medal and T-shirt for their efforts. Due to the fast downhill course runners record some of their best 5-mile finish times.
There is also an option to complete a 5K course. Both races start at the Civic Center and finish at the Oceanside Pier.