11 years ago – Steve’s brother, with the help of friends, started the Gilbert Turkey Trot in a retention basin by their house – with 100% or proceeds going to charity. A couple years in, I came on to help and have been with them ever since. It is a family fun race that continues to grow each and every year (always exceeding our expectations) with these guys as the masterminds.

And as much fun as it is – it is so much work and it makes for a busy November. Steve is a good sport because he holds down the fort as the race nears and towards the end, it’s all hands on deck. We go the day before Thanksgiving and work the packet pickup, with the kids manning different stations and then we’re up and at the race early the morning of, to finish setting up – hence the sleepy eyes in the picture below!

We’ve always participated in the family fun run and now that our kids are getting older, a few are running the 5K. Somehow Hallie managed to miss both the fun run and the 5K – probably strategic. She was hanging out with these cousins and didn’t hear the call for the runners to head to start line – which meant more cousin and doughnut time!

Everyone in Steve’s family was in town for Thanksgiving which meant they all showed up to walk/run and support.

Bennett ran his first 5K which is a story in and of itself that I will share – but he definitely earned his medal!

Hunter was excited to learn that out of all the family members that ran the race – and there were a lot of them – he finished first in the family at 21:30 – and ranked 156 overall out of more than 3500 runners. All his soccer training is paying off.

The “thankful wall” is always my favorite. There was discussion early on in our planning meetings whether or not we should set up the wall this year. This thing is heavy and massive – and it takes a lot of work to set it up and take it down. We decided it is always so well received that we thought people would miss it – so we brought it back out and I’m so glad we did. (I was always pulling to have it!)

I caught Briggs by himself at the wall, using his finger spacing in between his words as he was writing, “my sistr”. Melt my mom heart!

And after months of work and planning – it seems to go by in the blink of an eye and then we’re left to clean it all up. Luckily, my little helpers are willing and able to jump in and make the tear down and clean up entertaining. Never a dull moment.

This race is always so much work that it leaves me questioning whether or not I could possibly do it all over again the next year. And then the morning of the race comes and its amazing. And we see so many families participating and I’m overcome with gratitude for everyone’s efforts to pull this off and I can’t imagine not doing it again. I love this tradition for my own family as well as Steve’s extended family.

We asked our kids about the race and Hunter said it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without this event and I couldn’t help but agree. It’s become a big part of us and my favorite way to start the day. Although it does make me want to crash the minute Thanksgiving dinner is done! Until next year…