PARKERSBURG - The 30th annual Turkey Trot in City Park grew by leaps and bounds from last year to include 1,800 runners and walkers.
"This is the largest group we've had," said Joe Corra, president of the River City Runners Club, which helps organize the race with St. Joseph's Hospital. "We had over 25 percent more people pre-register."
By Wednesday night, there were 1,500 runners registered and Corra said between 200 and 300 people registered before the race.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Matt Boyles of Tuppers Plains was the first to finish at the 30th annual Turkey Trot Thursday morning at Parkersburg City Park.
"We always have those people who don't sign up until race day," Corra said.
Stephanie Moening of Marietta was one of those who did not register until Thursday morning.
"When the race is in the late fall or winter, you never know what the weather is like and if you pre-register and it's sleeting or snowing and don't want to go, you're out of the money you paid," she said.
The top five winners in the men's and women's categories:
1. Matt Boyles, 15:08
2. Tyler Cantley, 15:13
3. Mark Weiferich, 15:49
4. Brian Hesson, 16:02
5. Jeremy Anderson, 16:06
1. Alex Dent, 18:34
2. Yvonne Gilders, 19:26
3. Katie Wieferick, 20:02
4. Lindsey VanDyke, 20:08
5. Ashley Dunn, 20:47
Luckily for the runners, walkers and dogs participating, the weather was chilly but sunny.
"The weather today is great," Corra said.
The first to cross the finish line was Matt Boyles, a well-known name in local running events.
Boyles, 26, of Tupper Plains, Ohio, won the race with a time of 15:08.
He also placed first in the the 2006 Turkey Trot with a time of 15:26.
"He's a good kid and a great runner," Corra said.
The winning female spot was taken by Alex Dent of Hurricane.
The high school junior is a cross country standout.
"The Turkey Trot has always been fairly competitive, but this year we had a lot of good runners and many of them came from out of town," Corra said.
Both Boyles and Dent received turkeys for their efforts along with 60 other participants.
Corra said the River City Runners handed out 60 whole frozen turkeys to those who registered and were still at the event when names were called.
Corra said that most of the people who participate in the race are not there to compete, but are there with family members or friends as a way to do something different with their Thanksgiving.
"We have entire families sign up and walk with strollers and dogs," Corra said. "After the first five men and first five women, we don't keep track of most of the runners because they signed up just for something to do."
Michele Stutler of Pullman and her co-worker Lisa Rector of Harrisville decided to use the day off work as pharmacy technicians to try their hand at the Turkey Trot.
"We walked this race as something fun to do," Stutler said. "This is my first time and we're already talking about doing more races."