Cune Pena, owner of Premier Fitness, said his business started the Tyler Turkey Trot 10 years ago with about 100 runners and he was happy to say there were more than 1,500 participants Thursday.
“That tells me that people are concerned with their fitness when they come out for an event like this on a holiday,” he said.
Pena, who has been involved with the Tyler Boys & Girls Club for the past decade, thought the race could help raise funds. All the proceeds raised through the run benefit the Boys & Girls Club.
“We have families from New York, Chicago and other places that come in to see their families back here and they have made this part of their yearly thing,” he said.
The 5K race started on Donnybrook Avenue and continued to Reick to Copeland and finally through the Rose Rudman Trail back to Premier.
There were casual runners, walkers and some who mixed it up, but for some the race was a chance to break their personal bests, or PRs, in running.
The best time went to Brady O'Bryan, of Tyler, who crossed the line with a 15:20, which translates to a 4:56-minute-per-mile pace.
The Dietz family, of Tyler, may not have any professional athletes among their children, just yet, but the family of four did turn out to join in on the fun.
Ken Dietz and his wife, Jion, found themselves waiting for the start of the race with their small children Tucker and Bryce.
A new experience for the bunch, but one they said that could recur each year.
“This is our first time of doing this, and we're starting a new tradition,” Mrs. Dietz said as the boys played in front of her.
The couple said typically they would just be preparing for the big feast on Thanksgiving morning, but they decided to change it up.
However, Dietz said the family would be eating a lot of food and watching some football as part of the regular festivities.
Dietz was hopeful but not overly optimistic about the outcome of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins game.
“We won last week, so they will probably lose today,” he said. “We win one we lose one.”
Vicki Fitzgerald, of Van, said her family traveled from Van to participate in the Turkey Trot.
“We are a family of runners, but today, it's going to be dad and five children, and I'll be sitting with my mother cheering them on,” she said.
Mrs. Fitzgerald said her family would celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday including the family's traditional Fitzgerald Turkey Bowl for their football experience.
The most common thing people said after crossing the finish line was some variation of “Now it's time to eat some good food.”