Turkey Trot set for Saturday despite stormy weather

Tuesday’s windstorms caused 40 trees to be knocked down across Community Park’s plethora of trails and will reroute this weekend’s Turkey Trot 5K.

Some stormy weather won’t keep runners from participating in the first ever Turkey Trot 5K this weekend.

Hosted by the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation, the event is at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 and held at Community Park.

But tree debris from Tuesday’s storm has forced a rerouting of the original planned course, said Doug Coutts, director of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.

Coutts said there are about 40 trees down across the park property, most of them covering trails that were intended for the event. The course will now mostly take place on open ground and on South Whidbey High School’s track, Coutts said Thursday night.

The change in scenery isn’t a bad thing, Krista Loercher of the Aquatics Foundation said.

“Actually I think it’s really exciting because we’re going to do a course that nobody has done before. So all those people who have done the Chum Run and the (Whidbey) triathlon and say they’ve seen every part of this park, well, they should come out and do the Turkey Trot because it’s going to be completely different.”

The family-friendly 5K fun run/walk’s purpose is to help fund and raise awareness about the park district’s future campground, which will be built on a 30-acre parcel adjacent to the high school. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the property fund.

Loercher said on Thursday afternoon that she did not know exactly what the course was going to look like, but insisted it would be completely new.

The fundraiser is the first running event hosted by the foundation.

As the primary beneficiaries of the event, Coutts said he was grateful for the foundation’s efforts to help the campground see as much exposure and input from the public as possible. It is the lone event where the district receives the entirety of the proceeds.

“I think that we get the benefit of this is incredible,” Coutts said. “We’re going to do everything we can to work with them to make it a great event. Hopefully it becomes something annual that goes on and on.”

The idea originated after the district acquired the 30-acre property in September.

Loercher said the foundation had been talking to community members and discovered that despite news about the future campground, how people were aware of its potential.

“Yes, it’s a fundraiser, but even more importantly it’s a way to spread the word about this important acquisition to the community,” Loercher said. “Just try and raise the profile of this project.”

In addition to the Turkey Trot, the foundation sponsors the Edible Book Festival held every spring at Bayview Hall, as well as the Whidbey Adventure Swim in August.

“We’ve helped with swim events, we’ve helped with the edible book festival, but this is our very first run/walk event,” Loercher said.

Loercher hopes to raise a couple thousand dollars from the event.

Loercher and Coutts said that because of the power outages from the stormy weather this week, they did not have an estimate for how many people would be racing.

“We’re going to try and be as ready as we can for a lot of day-of registration,” Loercher said. “We’re just going to be ready to go Saturday morning and we are expecting a lot of people to just show up and register on the spot.”

Registration fees for the family-friendly event are $30 for adults, $20 for students and a family maximum of $80. Check-in will be on the day of the event, from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.