Turkey Trot kicks off Thanksgiving morning with some exercise before the big meal


Runners At The Starting LineRAPID CITY, S.D.– The Black Hills Runners Club hosted their 43rd annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, with participants looking to get in some exercise before they pile extra sides onto their dinner plate. Starting at the old Storybook Island location, they ran along the Sioux Park bike path before heading back and crossing the finish line.

Why hold the Turkey Trot?

The club hosts the event as their biggest fundraiser of the year. Runners and walkers signed up ahead of the event, totaling over 1,300 people. The money, club President Dan Bjerke says, goes back into the community for community events and resources. “We promote running for different events. Like School of Mines puts on a running event with the cross-country team for kids, and we help support that,” he explained. “We also put money into the trail systems here in the Black Hills. Such as M Hill, the Hanson-Larsen, the new Raider Field up here by Stevens High School.”

Are there prizes for the winners?

No. The Turkey Trot is just meant to be a fun event. Participants were treated to coffee, hot cider, and cookies on their arrival. Club members also handed out coupons for a free caramel rolls from Colonial House. However, some lucky guests were selected from the list of participants and won a free pie. Flavors to choose from were: apple, cherry, peach, and pumpkin.

Why is the Turkey Trot such a big event?

For many people in attendance, it was about spending time with their loved ones on the holiday.

“I grew up here in rapid city and my family is still out in the area, so we always come here for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas,” Kansas City resident Leah Parsons said. “And this year we decided to come do this as something fun, and we have a bunch of the younger kids now, so we wanted to do this and kind of be silly and dress up.”

“It’s just been a lot of fun. We used to do Freeze Your Fanny in Sundance and now as we’ve aged, this is our only big walking thing because we do a lot of hiking in the black hills,” Mike from Rapid City said. He and his wife have been running in the Turkey Trot for 25 years and were not thinking about changing that tradition in the future. “Every year, cold or warm, we are out here.”

Ann Hast and her family were also at the event, this kicking off their day of games and activities, which they said can get very intense.

“We are big game players,” she said. “We have the Hast’s and the Storm’s and we go at it.”

Of course, as another runner summed it up. it is all about being together. “Just getting out, being silly, and enjoying Thanksgiving.”

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