OCEANSIDE — Nearly 10,000 people took to the downtown streets on Thanksgiving morning to exercise before digging into their holiday feasts.
Rain fell in the early morning hours before the 13th annual Frontwave Credit Union O’side Turkey Trot, but showers had mostly stopped by the time the 10K runners took off at 6:45 a.m.
Co-founder Richard Muscio called this year’s Turkey Trot “Lucky 13” after the weather cleared up. He noted there was a minute of rain during the 10K Run around the 4-mile marker at the harbor, but that didn’t seem to bother Muscio, a marathon runner who participated in the run.
“I’ll tell you,” he said, “the rain felt really good.”
After the 10K Run came the 5K Run and 5K Walk, followed by the Move Your Feet Before You Eat! 1 Mile for ages 7 to 12, the Senior Mile and finally the Tiny Turkey Trot ¼ Mile for ages 6 and under.
Muscio said the Turkey Trot is “a great way to start your Thanksgiving morning tradition” of spending quality time with family.
“It’s a great thing for families to do together,” he said, noting that he saw three generations of family members participating together in the race.
Maria and Abran Lopes walked the 5K with family members, including their 7-month-old granddaughter, Lourde Seau.
The Lopes couple, who live in Fallbrook, have been walking in the Turkey Trot for several years now.
“It’s our family tradition now,” Abran Lopes said.
Little Lourde and her grandfather went above and beyond other participants, having dressed up to compete in the costume contest that morning. Dressed as a chef with a turkey, Abran and Lourde came out victorious as the costume contest’s first-place winners.
Even Muscio threw on a turkey costume after he finished the 10K Run.
Muscio co-founded the Turkey Trot with Kathy Kinane, president of Kinane Events and creator of the Move Your Feet Before You Eat! Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes health and well-being by incorporating physical fitness into daily life.
“Plus,” Muscio added, “if you move your feet before you eat, you can have more turkey and more pumpkin pie later.”
Like most turkey trots held on Thanksgiving morning around the country, the O’side Turkey Trot helps to raise funds for charities. Participants can opt to donate $5 of their Turkey Trot entry fee to a local charity of their choice. Those charities include schools and nonprofit organizations.
“We’re unique in that way because most running events only benefit one charity,” Muscio said.
Sponsors such as Frontwave Credit Union, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Cohn Restaurant Group to name a few also play a huge role in the O’side Turkey Trot. Muscio said sponsors support the event with funds and volunteers.
According to Muscio, the Turkey Trot had about 600 volunteers this year. He added that many of those volunteers came from the Camp Pendleton base.
The O’side Turkey Trot has gained quite a bit of prestige since it first began in 2006. Last year, the Los Angeles Times recognized it as one of six “great turkey trots” across the nation. This year, Runner’s World magazine recognized it as one of the top 15 turkey trots to run before a Thanksgiving feast.
Muscio said he and Kinane couldn’t have imagined the O’side Turkey Trot to grow as much as it has.
“The joke was if it worked it must have been a plan,” he said. “We just said we want to move our feet before we eat.”
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son