Turkey Trot

Participants take-off from the starting line outside of Gruene Hall during the 3rd annual Gruene Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk on Nov. 24, 2011.

NEW BRAUNFELS — Those searching for a good way to work up an appetite for Thanksgiving need to look no further than Gruene.

At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, in front of historic Gruene Hall, the starter pistol will fire and hundreds of people will be off to the races in the fourth annual Gruene Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk.

The all-ages event will raise money for several police agency community programs.

Last year, more than 1,500 people participated, and event organizers said they raised around $40,000.

Proceeds from the Thanksgiving Day event goes to the Comal Cops for Kids Foundation, a charitable foundation designed to benefit abused, endangered, or underprivileged children and adults along with agencies of similar goals, including New Braunfels Police Department’s Blue Santa Program and Comal County Sheriff’s Office’s Green Santa Program.

Capt. John McDonald of New Braunfels Police Department said he and his fellow officers are grateful for the Turkey Trot.

“It’s extremely beneficial for us,” he said. “Money is always hard to come by and this is a great source of funding. This helps keep our programs going.”

McDonald said he is always impressed by how many people come out and participate every year.

“We’re also very appreciative to all the people who come out and make this possible,” he said. “We’re thankful to be in such a great community.”

In its first year in 2009, race coordinators expected 200 participants and saw nearly 700 register. The next year, about 1,200 people responded to the event co-founded by Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp and Det. Sgt. Tommy Ward of Comal County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our goal is to help other non-profits that help us,” Tharp said. “Everything is really looking good this year. We already have 1,100 people signed up and we hope to have 2,000 this year.”

Runners and walkers are encouraged to wear costumes this year, Tharp said, with prizes going to the best-dressed participants.

Another feature will be the “Turkey Chase” for children ages 11 and younger. The children participating get to run after a giant turkey mascot for a quarter mile.

People can register for the race from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Thursday. Registration for the kids chase continues until 9:45 a.m., with the event beginning at 10 a.m.

Registration is $35 for the run/walk and $20 for the chase. The registration table will be in front of Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, 1287 Gruene Road.

Visit comalcopsforkids.org for information.

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