PARK FALLS — Nearly 50 people chose to get a bit of fresh air before digging into Thanksgiving dinner by participating in the 11th annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday.

The event, organized by the Park Falls Area Chamber of Commerce with seven area business sponsors, attracted both athletes and joggers, walkers and those just out for some fun. The Park Falls Fire Department and Police Department escorted the runners from front and behind. 

“Our spirit is a lot higher than our athleticism; that is our motto,” said Alannah Haworth, of Juno City. “Now we can double-down on the stuffing.”

Haworth was running her first Turkey Trot with Tim and Dixie Weidman, and Tim’s father, Mike Weidman. They dressed up in brown turkey tutus and did their best to run as much of the course as they could. 

“This is my first time running the Turkey Trot, this is my first 5K,” said Dixie Weidman, noting she was satisfied that she finished the run with a sprint.

There were some serious runners who ran the entire course in pursuit of the free frozen turkey for the top male and female runners. 

Gabe Oswald, 17, of Park Falls, was out in front of the pack from the start and never let up. He said that climbing the hill on a cold winter day was not that much fun but that he enjoyed the Turkey Trot overall as a way to start off the day before hunting later in the afternoon.

“The wind was horrible,” Oswald said. “But it was fun.”

Oswald timed himself at 19:22. Chamber board member Katie Freiburger, and interim treasurer Kayla Meyers were waiting for him at the finish with a ribbon, medal and turkey.

Leah Weakley, of the Oshkosh area, was the first woman to cross the finish line just a few moments later. She runs the Turkey Trot every year as she is in town visiting her parents for the holidays — but this is the first time she has won a turkey which was icing on the cake.

“I like getting up and getting going for the day, starting the holiday off in a healthy way,” Weakley said.

Kristin Palecek, of Butternut, has run the Turkey Trot every year since helping to form it as a chamber board member. She said it is a nice way to start the day.

“It’s just a nice outdoor thing to do and a good way to kick off Thanksgiving,” Palecek said. “Now we can just go relax and enjoy your company.”

Everyone who participated and finished the 5K received a medal.

Chamber board member Katie Freiburger said it was good to see there were families and groups running. As a community event that is what it is all about, she said.

“It's something that they can do as a tradition together,” she said. “It also helps bring the community together and shows that, hey, there's something going on in town, something fun to do to start your morning.”

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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