More than 100 people showed up last Saturday morning at the Community Center for the 5th Annual 5K Turkey Trot. The run/walk began at 7 a.m. along a route through neighborhood streets and ending where it began.
The registration fee was $10 and two cans of food, which will be given to local churches for distribution. Each participant received a commemorative T-shirt.
Louise Jagessar has run the race once before and also runs the River Cities Festival event. She’s also part of a 10-person running group that calls itself the Morning Maniacs. Members regularly run three mornings a week beginning at 5 a.m.
“We run along Westward Drive and Ludlam at times,” said Jagessar. “My husband Terry is also running today. I don’t remember my time last year but I once got a medal.”
Ashley Rey, 15, runs cross-country and track at Monsignor Pace High School. This was her first Turkey Trot but she ran the River Cities race and did “pretty good” but didn’t remember her time.
“My personal time in local races is 29:30,” said Rey. But she expected to beat her 12-year-old brother Carlos.
Recreation Director Omar Luna said 112 people signed up in advance to participate and more were registering before the race. Participants ranged in age from 9 -78 and medals were awarded for different age groups.
“It’s about participation and bringing the community out,” said Luna. “The canned goods we collect go to local churches to help people in need. The fee helps pay for a professional timing system.”
Luna said the route headed north on Apache, then turned east on Plover, made a left on Lawn Way, went to Miami Springs High, turned west to Ludlam Road and then left on Swan and right on Apache to the finish line.
“I ran it once and came in third,” said Luna, who credited Caitlin Smith for organizing the event. “She oversaw this thing from top to bottom and everyone else helped out.”
“I’ve been working on this for a couple months,” said Smith. “With help from everyone, we get things for the raffle from local businesses and schedule the timing system. I figure the overall winner will make it in 18 minutes.”
First across the finish line was Manny Garcia with a time of 19:05.
“I ran it last year and won,” said Garcia. “It wasn’t particularly difficult. I was by myself for most of the race. It was an easy race for me.”
Second place was a tie between Jason Corado of Medley and Alejandro Ortiz of Miami Springs. They had never met until crossing the finish line together.
Mary DiBernardo of Miami Springs was the first woman across the finish line with a time of 23:21. And she happens to be the girlfriend of overall winner Garcia.
“It wasn’t that tough,” said DiBernardo, “but I had a better time last year.”
The race was a home-to-home run for Anissa Parks, 16, who lives across the street from the start/finish line.
“I don’t know my time,” said Parks. “I just had a good time.”