Runners and Walkers Take Part in Annual Turkey Trot - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Runners and Walkers Take Part in Annual Turkey Trot

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Nearly 500 people laced up their running shoes bright and early on Thanksgiving morning to participate in the annual "Turkey Trot" at Wheeling Jesuit University.

The 5K race is part of the Grand Prix series that raises money for the Ohio Valley Runners and Walkers Club.

7 News was there to find out what got people up and out of bed early on a holiday.

"It makes you feel better about eating turkey all day," says Brad Wright, a race participant from Ohio.

"I think a lot of people look at bringing family together," says Race Director, Tom Rownd. "It's a holiday and it's something to do together before the big feast".

Michael Guin says he would be up running anyway, and that's probably the attitude that won him the race.

Guin finished in just over 15 minutes.

"I feel pretty good about my race, so I'm going to eat whatever I want today," he says.

Whatever your favorite is at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you can bet it's not exactly fat free.

Experts say that getting out there and getting moving is the best thing you can do to combat those extra pounds.

"The more movement that you do the next couple days after Thanksgiving, the more calories you're going to burn," says George Frazier, Director at Center Town Fitness in Wheeling.

Frazier also says exercise the morning of Thanksgiving will better your chances of making healthy choices when you sit down to eat.

7 News caught up with some of the racers after they crossed the finish line to get their take.

"I think it's going to make me eat less sweets but more turkey," says Timothy Patitsas.

Plenty of racers said they won't be holding back after burning all those calories running.

"This is grounds for me eating twice as much dessert," says 20-year-old Viviane Minkmeyer.

Whether they are piling more turkey, or pie onto their plates, many of these runners will be thankful they got up early to hit the pavement.

"Sometimes on thanksgiving you can just feel kind of lethargic sitting around," says Patitsas,  "but this is a beautiful way to start the morning".

While plaques and medals were given out to the winners in each category, turkeys were also sent home with a few lucky people.