By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

 

Time to get ready to ‘Turkey Trot’ Pictured is the Hutchinson family, who called themselves the Pumpkin Patch Trotters as they participated in last year’s Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot. Registration is currently underway for this year’s Thanksgiving Day event. Visit dangibbonsturkeytrot.org to sign up.

It’s time to start making preparations for Thanksgiving Day and that means buying the turkey, planning the menu and inviting guests.

The other thing for Thanksgiving morning is to make sure you are registered for 36th annual Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot.

The Independent recently caught up with a very busy Dan Gibbons, who is taking care last minute details for the upcoming race/walk, which steps off Thursday, Nov. 28 promptly at 9 a.m. from the area near Park and Cottage Hill avenues.

Despite dozens of things to check and double-check before the big day, Gibbons doesn’t fail to keep his eye on what really matters–people who are hungry.

“There are 60,000 people in DuPage County – not in all of Chicagoland – right here in DuPage County who go to bed hungry at night,” Gibbons said. “And 20,000 of those are children. In a County as wealthy and resourceful as DuPage, that is just unacceptable.

“It’s why we do what we do.”

He urged people to keep an eye on neighbors who may need help by doing well-being checks.

“Seniors on a fixed income are in the same boat as children,” he said. “Neither is in control of their own destiny. And, you can’t ‘see’ hunger, like you can see a disability, for instance. People carry it inside.”

As usual, Gibbons expects a record-breaking number of people this year. He said there are 10% more sponsors this year as well as 10% more racers, which hail from 30 different states across the country.

“In fact about 43% of the racers are from Elmhurst,” he said. “The other 57% are from outside Elmhurst. It’s become a tradition for a lot of people, they seem to like the family and community atmosphere that comes together Thanksgiving morning.”

The good things about race day are remaining the same. Thanks to generous sponsors, Jim Cornelius will return to sing The Star Spangled Banner; and, the Lima Lima Flight Team is scheduled for a flyover, weather permitting.

The Men of Spirito! are scheduled to perform as well.

Something new this year is there will be two days to pick up packets at the Knights of Columbus, rather than the usual one day only.

Ready to start the Turkey Trot Pictured here surrounding “Oglethorpe,” the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot mascot, are the Honorary starters who will be on-hand Thanksgiving morning to give the go-ahead to the thousands of runners and walkers who will come to Elmhurst on Nov. 28 for the annual race/walk. They are (from left) Richard Rentner, WW II Veteran, US Army; Bill Brown, Veteran, US Coast Guard; and, Patrick Windsor, Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Army. A longtime friend of Dan Gibbons, Brown is the person who gave the mascot his name of Oglethorpe as a result of a contest held in 1992. Rentner, who served as a Sergeant in Ammunitions Supply in Japan during WWII and is Dan’s uncle. Windsor, a Staff Sergeant in Army Intelligence is a member of the DGTT Foundation Board.

This year, on Saturday, Nov. 23 and Sunday, Nov. 24, race day registration and packet pickup will be going on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Stop by and have a beer.

Registration and packet pick-up will also be available on race day from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. in the Elmhurst College Gym inside R. A. Faganel Hall, 221 Walter St.

“With how easy it is to pick up packets in advance this year, there’s really no reason to go through the rush of registering on race day,” Gibbons said. “Once you pick up your packet, all you have to do on Thanksgiving morning is show up.”

Gibbons mentioned his honorary starters for the morning. They include Richard Rentner, World War II veteran, U.S. Army; Bill Brown, veteran, U.S. Coast Guard; and, Patrick Windsor, Vietnam veteran, U.S. Army.

A longtime friend of Gibbons, Brown is the person who gave the mascot his name of Oglethorpe as a result of a contest held in 1992. Rentner, who served as a Sergeant in Ammunitions Supply in Japan during World War II and is Dan’s uncle. Windsor, a Staff Sergeant in Army Intelligence is a member of the DGTT Foundation Board.

Sign up now through Sunday, Nov. 24 at 5 p.m. to receive the $35 fee to participate. After that, the fee increases to $40 per racer.

And on race day, don’t forget to take advantage of the trolleys, which will transport participants from remote parking areas to the Elmhurst College main parking lot right across the street from the gym, where registration is held, and just two blocks from the starting line.

Remote parking from the west will pick up and drop off at York High School, 355 W. St. Charles Road; from the south, at U.S. Bank, 536 S. York St. at Vallette. The south route will have two pick-up drop-off locations: across from Spring Inn and at Jack’s Silverado Grill.

There’s still time to register online so now is the time to visit dangibbonsturkeytrot.org. It’s one thing you can cross off your Thanksgiving things-to-do list.

 

 

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