Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The 17th annual Pima Turkey Trot was once again a huge success.
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – While the Pima Turkey Trot is always a family affair, this year that went even a step further with a brother and sister combo at the top of the podium of this year’s racers.
Three-time Turkey Trot champion Jonathan Barney, 18, of Scottsdale, was the overall champion with a time of 16:11.46 and he was joined by his sister, Meghan Barney, 21, of Scottsdale, who was the first overall female finisher in a time of 20:19.18.
“It’s so fun,” Meghan said. “It’s like relaxed; everyone’s happy and excited to be here.”
Jonathan has taken the top spot three times and set the course record last year with a time of 15:55.44.
“It’s a great way to start the Thanksgiving day,” Jonathan said.
This year’s trot drew 923 attendees who saw crisp but pleasant running weather that warmed as the event grew long. By the time the last turkeys shuffled past the finish line, the weather was a delight as attendees enjoyed after-race snacks and took part in the raffle.
Melinda Nelson and Cody Marshall are the originators and still current co-race directors. They started the Trot in 2006 on a whim and 50 others showed up as well – more than expected. Beginning in 2007 the pair began to solicit sponsors and have now raised roughly $100,000 for Pima Schools.
Thursday morning began with Tom Turkey leading the 1-Mile Fun Run participants. The 5K followed and the crowd of runners gathered on the street for the start.
Unique, perhaps to the Pima Turkey Trot 5K, are the various runners, from the very young to the elderly, those pushing strollers, to competitive racers, those in Thanksgiving-themed costumes, and groups of family members who walk more than run the 3.1-mile trek.
And at the finish, the various groups of family congregate and share stories as they cheer others on their way.
“My favorite part is seeing the families,” Nelson said. “Seeing the little kids – the grandmas and grandpas – it’s just a really fun morning.”