Last updated: August 27. 2013 2:50PM - 250 Views

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Same race, same cause, different route.

Registration is now open for the fourth annual Turkey Trot, the Thanksgiving morning 5K run/walk to benefit the Center for Human Services. And like many people’s waistlines after three Thanksgivings, the event has expanded.

Susan Mergen, CHS development director and the race coordinator, said, “We outgrew the parking lot at the (Sedalia) Country Club, and we didn’t want to rustle any turkey feathers of the group organizing the Ham Breakfast. With all of the runners parked there, the thought was it might deter people from coming to the Ham Breakfast. So we said, ‘No problem, we’ll move it.’ ”

Paul Beykirch, president of County Distributing Company and the volunteer race director, agreed to have the trot start and finish at his company’s warehouse in the industrial park that also houses ProEnergy Services and CHS’s Ewing Vocational Center. Since County Distributing is a Budweiser wholesaler, Mergen is using the slogan “This Run’s For You” for this year’s trot.

“There will be ample parking at County Distributing or down behind the Ewing building, if needed,” Mergen said. “The run will be climate controlled at the start and finish — what happens in between, there’s no guarantee.”

Frigid temperatures for the 2010 run prompted Mergen to switch from traditional T-shirts for runners and walkers to stocking caps featuring the CHS logo last year. This year, participants will get gloves — in red, green or black, with the CHS logo on the back of the hand — to go with those caps.

Last year 430 people registered for the run, which raised $8,000. Mergen’s goal for this year is 500 runners and walkers.

“It’s been a very well-received event,” she said.

Cliff Callis, of Callis and Associates and a CHS board member, and his family have participated every year.

“First of all, it is a festive atmosphere, it’s on a holiday with a great crowd at a time when a lot of families are together,” Callis said. “A lot more people are interested in fitness and trying to stay healthy. ... It is a good opportunity to get out, get the day started and get into the rest of the holiday traditions.”

Mergen agreed that the trot is a chance to get in a workout before a day that centers on a big meal or two. She also noted that it’s eight weeks until the run, so there is plenty of time for training and “you don’t have to run the whole thing.”

And while the previous route through the Walnut Hills neighborhood worked out well, she believes the new route will prove to be a positive change.

“When something grows, you have to grow with it,” Mergen said.

Getting Involved: Registration forms are available at the Center for Human Services website, chs-mo.org, and the Children’s Therapy Center, 1500 Ewing Dr.  The fee is $20 and includes a pair of gloves. The first 75 people to register also will receive a ticket to the Ham Breakfast at the Sedalia Country Club; the breakfast and run both benefit CHS. For more information, contact Susan Mergen at 826-4400.

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