NEW PORT RICHEY — Creating a good community event and fundraiser isn't something that happens over night. Just ask the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pasco.
The club's first Turkey Trot last year cost organizers more money than the event raised. The group made some adjustments for this year's event, held Saturday, but still had some growing pains.
"Last year, we lost some money but we recognized that this is something that takes a little while to generate funds," race director Ralph Kirkpatrick said. "This year, we included the Goblet Sprints for the kids, which helped. Our 5K was a little crazy because there was Friday night at the Movies in the Park the night before, so we were running behind and then we had an issue with some of our course markers not being set up. But for the most part the event went off without a hitch, and we all felt that no matter what it generates money-wise this year, this was the best event we've ever had."
The addition of the Goblet Sprints was a big hit with about 80 children who took part in the race. The 300-yard sprint gave kids ages 8-13 a chance to participate in the previously adult-only event and opened up a new door for the Kiwanis Club.
"We definitely grew this year," Kirkpatrick said. "Both years we've had about 120 runners for the 5K, but with the kids running we expanded significantly. I think we've got the seeds planted for a really fun event for years to come."
The race was Kirkpatrick's first in a director role, but having studied events like the RAP River Run and other popular 5K races, he was able to design a course that can build a tradition around the Turkey Trot.
"This is an excellent course because it runs right along the river and it isn't just a straight course," said runner Don Magee of Holiday. "Too often you run on a straight portion of road or on the beach or sidewalk, but here they block off the road and it weaves in and out of places so it doesn't seem like you have to run as fast."
Such races attract a wide variety of athletes and hobbyists. For Magee, the race offered a relaxing alternative to competing in and training for triathlons while still being active.
"It's nice because it's still a workout, but after I get done running I don't have to jump on a bike," Magee said. "It's a good way to train and it doesn't have the craziness of a triathlon. Once this is over, it's over and you can just relax. I thought I could win this race but the course is obviously set up for speed because everyone ran right by me."
The addition of the Goblet Sprints turned the race into a family affair for the Clarks. Ralph Clark is a veteran of the 5K circuit who won the 25-29 division Saturday. His wife and daughters joined him, so the girls could compete in the youth sprint.
"My husband does races from here all the way over to Daytona," said Carol Clark. "We've been looking for a way to get the girls involved, and the kid's race here is perfect because it's not too long. I think this is a great event, and as usual, it's a good location."