MODESTO — Tiny superheroes. Giant turkeys. Angry Birds. The 14th annual Modesto Turkey Trot & Gobbler Walk drew all sorts on a beautiful Thursday morning at Tuolumne River Regional Park. The sky was clear, the air cool and calm upper 40s in the 9 oclock hour, according to the Modesto Irrigation District weather summary.
Nearly 1,400 people preregistered for the event put on by the Modesto Junior College track and field and cross country programs, and a few hundred more signed up that morning. Among the participants were student athletes, set to leave it all on the course; families just looking for a healthy run, jog or walk and time together; and a bunch of little boys and girls, each confident he or she was going to win the day.
Before the half-mile run for boys 13 and younger, Ceres resident Wesley Klino was explaining the course to his 5-year-old son, Frankie, and his nephews, 8-year-old twins Jeremy and Justin Alvarez. The boys all pointed to their all-around sports participation baseball, football, soccer as reasons to count on their impending fun-run victory. But Jeremy also pointed out that he was trying to work up an appetite for the two Thanksgiving meals hed eat later in the day. What was he looking forward to the most? Pumpkin pie.
Just yards away, stretching and warming up for a Marvel-ous showing on the course, were Spider-man not-so-secret identity 3½-year-old Giles Doud and Wolverine, aka cousin Archer Price, wholl turn 4 Sunday. With not only his web-slinger costume but Superman shoes, Giles looked more than ready to take on the competition, but the grown-ups with him said his real mission was to beat his dad, who would run along with him.
Alas, after the ready, set, go, the pairs powers failed them: Archer was being urged along at a slow jog by his mother, and while Giles got off to a good start, his finish was another matter. Yards from the finish line, dad peeled off the course to let Giles finish whereupon the child promptly took a tumble. Giles stood up, shaken, and started to cry when his father wasnt by his side, so Dad rushed back to him, and the pair crossed as a dynamic duo.
A bigger pair of costumed runners got more attention than the little superheroes. Modesto brothers Hoa Tran, 28, and Nguyen Tran, 32, were head-to-toe turkeys, and were asked by a number of fellow runners to pose for pictures. Clearly a couple of hams beneath the turkey get-ups, the brothers kindly agreed.
Among those photographed with the Trans was 31-year-old Nick Garcia of Modesto, out racing with his mom, 54-year-old Patti Navarrete. Mom got him into running, Garcia said. I was unhealthy, unfit. Now, theyre running buddies, just having done a half marathon together.
He makes me faster, Navarrete said, saying that they fully intended to give it their all on the 5K run just ahead. Were not superfast, but I think we do OK, she added.
And the prize beyond the finish line? Turkey at my house, Garcia said. After all, were about to burn it all off.
Everywhere you turned Thursday were families out to run, jog or walk together.
Modestan Clay Hobbs, 18, came out with his sisters, cousin and uncle to keep a fledgling family tradition going. He and sisters Bailee, 21, and Cortney, 20, along with cousin Annie Mollett, 21, and her dad, Jeff Mollett, 50, ran their first Turkey Trot together last year and were back for another go. Theyve run a couple of other races together, too, including a half marathon.
The Hobbs siblings said theyre pretty well-suited to run the same pace, and cousin Annie is really being nice by not leaving them behind, Bailee said. As for Uncle Jeff, he has no qualms about letting them eat his dust. With a capital D, he throws in.
Thursday was all about fun, feasting and family, they agreed. Almost all of the work the meal preparation was finished Wednesday. The only work on Thanksgiving was the workout have to earn your turkey, Jeff Mollett said.
Dressed in matching decorated shirts with Team Gobbler on the back were members of the extended Valgos-Pereira-Peterson-Wells family, most from Turlock but some in from Salinas. This was the third Turkey Trot for the family, but the first in a team uniform. While they were signed up for the 5K walk, a few of the kids in the family said theyd be trying to run the course, having walk-jogged it last year.
No matter what speed participants did the half-mile and 5K courses, race organizers were just happy to have them out getting exercise and supporting the MJC teams. Proceeds from the race go to the track and field and cross country uniforms, travel costs and equipment, such as shots, hammers, discs, javelins and poles, said MJC mens coach Demitrius Snaer. This pretty much covers our program.
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