U.S. hunger at highest level in 15 years. Studies continue to report that the happiest people exercise—and they do so in the morning. And, as much as we know Thanksgiving is a time to give gratitude, unfortunately, overeating on Thanksgiving is the norm for millions of Americans. What to do? There’s one simple answer—the St. Ignatius Turkey Trot (or one near you!)
For thirteen years now, St. Ignatius students, alumni, families, friends and a number of dogs have met at the circle at Lake Merced to begin Thanksgiving Day with a Turkey Trot of 4 miles around the lake. This year’s cold morning temperatures didn’t keep nearly 150 runners, joggers and walkers away from this tradition.
All proceeds from the Turkey Trot go to the St. Anthony Foundation. Everyday "St. Anthony’s provides over 1000 people with food, clothing, alcohol and drug recovery help and medical care. To date, they have served over 36 million meals to the hungry." For over 60 years, they have managed to serve our brothers and sisters in the Tenderloin community without any federal, state or civic monies.
Every St. Ignatius sophomore becomes familiar with the mission of the St. Anthony foundation through the sophomore retreat—an urban plunge. And those lucky juniors who take part on the San Francisco Immersion can attest to the breadth and depth of St. Anthony’s justice education and outreach programs. Truly, they can bear witness to the ways and means by which the mission of St. Anthony’s put their own faith into action.
The Turkey Trot is a win-win tradition. Not only does it allow St. Ignatius to continue its support of the St. Anthony Foundation, but participants are assuaged of any guilt from the impending Thanksgiving meal. And, as reported in The Weekend Edition blog “The Happiest Place in America” reports “The effect of exercise gives a person a 10 hour happiness boost, so you want to do it early in the day. If you spend time on outdoor recreation, your endorphins are jumping! With its 9:00 a.m. start, the Turkey Trot is the ideal way to start the Thanksgiving holiday.
There are a number of Turkey Trots throughout the Bay Area. This year’s Silicon Valley Turkey Trot raised a record amount of money for the Second Harvest Food Bank. The Turkey Trail Trot in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park aims to promote the sport of running and youth athletics and benefits a different public school each year. Bottom line, I think it’s a great way to gather friends and family before the day long festivities, food, and football.
My only recommendation is once the run is over, wherever you are—throw a football.
All photos are taken by Eric Castro