The Turkey Trot, Southern Oregon-style, was quick to carve out a niche in its formative years as local runners and holiday visitors gobbled up applications for the Thanksgiving-morning run.
Some 300 runners inaugurated the event eight years ago and the field grew to 1,000 last year.
"Our club was getting a lot of requests to do something fun for Thanksgiving to help burn all those calories," said race founder Chuck Whiteley of the Southern Oregon Runners club. "We wanted to have a short distance that anyone could do, so we chose two miles."
Walkers as well as runners showed up, and given the holiday atmosphere, participation ranged from the very young to borderline ancient.
"There are families that come every year, and it has really become a tradition," Whiteley said.
The Turkey Trot is staged at 3001 Samike Drive — just south of U.S. Cellular Park — and race headquarters are in the Rogue Rock Gym.
The young ones get started first at 7:45 a.m. with a 100-meter Turkey Dash. Then the serious eaters take the stage for an eight-mile race that begins at 8 a.m., followed by the two-mile happening at 8:30.
The shorter race is a loop, while the eight-milers follow an out-and-back route on the Bear Creek Greenway.
"The time difference allows us to have most of the runners finish near the same time," Whiteley said.
Registration fees range from $7 for youths 13 and younger to $20 for adults for the two- and eight-milers. A canned-food donation will get you into the Turkey Dash — in fact, all runners in all three races are asked to make a food donation. The family registration rate is $60, which does not include dogs, roller skaters, cyclists or skateboarders — none of whom are allowed on the race route.
In previous years, the Turkey Trot has produced between $4,000 and $9,000 for ACCESS. So far about 500 people are signed up for this year's event.
"The reason it's so important to have a great turnout is because of the great things ACCESS can do with the collected food and proceeds," Whiteley said. "In a time when families in our valley could really use the help, ACCESS does amazing things with what they get."
Packet pick-up is 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27. Race-day registration will be allowed from 7 to 7:45 a.m.