ENCINITAS — Fitness, family and fun will come together with a healthy dose of philanthropy in downtown Encinitas on Nov. 22. The event is the Encinitas Turkey Trot, the annual 5K/10K and food drive that takes place on Thanksgiving Day. Starting and finishing under the iconic Encinitas sign on Coast Highway 101, the Turkey Trot showcases not only a picturesque stretch of North County coastline, but also just how much the community comes together to support worthy causes.
When event founder Steve Lebherz came up with the idea for Encinitas to have its own turkey trot, he was looking for a way to help needy local families. As the Turkey Trot continues to grow each year, he’s been able to make that dream a reality. Due to the event’s success in that area, he realized it was a good time to take on another partnership to help his community in a different way. “Last year there was a change of personnel at Encinitas 101,” he said. “With their new energy we saw an immediate opportunity for both of us to support and grow with local activities like the Encinitas Turkey Trot and many other exciting new community events.”
This year marks the first year Encinitas 101 is partnering with the Encinitas Turkey Trot. “Encinitas 101 Mainstreet Association is a nonprofit that acts as the ‘Voice of Downtown,’” Irene Pyun, executive director, said. “Our purpose is to improve, promote and preserve a desirable and viable historic downtown Encinitas. So when Steve Lebherz approached me with the idea of getting more involved with the community, I informed him of the many public arts projects we are hoping to accomplish in the coming years and he jumped on board!”
Lebherz said he sees the partnership as a way to connect with even more businesses and families in the community of Encinitas, and he is particularly excited about a colorful crosswalk project in the works.
“Encinitas 101 will use the funds for multiple arts projects starting with a painted crosswalk at G Street and Coast Highway 101,” Pyun said. “We plan to use the funds for future murals and potential art installations. We are looking forward to forging a partnership with Steve in the next five years to get Encinitas on the map as one of the major art destinations.”
While satisfying a community-wide hunger for public art, the Encinitas Turkey Trot continues in its mission to help feed families in need. “The Thanksgiving Meals in a Basket program first started five years ago to help active duty military families,” Lebherz said. “The goal is to help serve those who serve. This year our goal is to provide a Thanksgiving meal for 100 separate families. Additionally, we will also be helping another 50 veterans in various stages of need.”
In other new changes to the event, the fastest growing Thanksgiving Day 5K/10K in the area has added a 1K Kids Fun Run sponsored by Beam Orthodontia. “We want to include all members of the family in the festivities,” Lebherz said. “This year The Coast News is our presenting sponsor and we are getting to chance to enjoy their partnership and continue to grow our outreach. Since our inception Herman Cook VW was our first sponsor and they continue to support to this day.”
For more information about the Encinitas Turkey Trot and to register, visit www.encinitasturkeytrot.org.