Thanksgiving morning marks the start of the eighth annual Spartan Turkey Trot, the only race ever approved to run on the streets of Mountain View.
The race – which starts and finishes at Mountain View High and also includes nearby streets – is the brainchild of Mike Mulkey, former assistant coach of the Spartans’ boys basketball team. The turkey trot has grown from approximately 100 participants in 2010 to nearly 1,200 last year.
Mulkey came up with the idea after his first game as assistant coach at Mountain View High. Mulkey said he was surprised the team had to put the chairs away, mop the floor, turn the scoreboard off and put equipment back in the janitor’s closet.
“I was dumbfounded, and I said, ‘What are you talking about? Where are the janitors?’” he said. “When I went to high school, the janitors did all of that. Long story short, from that, we had some discussions on starting a turkey trot to raise money for just athletics. … It was very positively received and everyone just said, ‘Oh, gosh, you’ve got to do this next year – that was really fun.’ It really was this grassroots community.”
The turkey trot has raised more than $15,000 for Mountain View High athletics over the years, according to Mulkey. A couple of years ago, the Mountain View High School Sports Boosters became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization because of fundraisers like the turkey trot.
“(The Boosters have) a list of things they’ve been doing for years to improve the gymnasiums, baseball fields, softball fields, signage around the school, nets for soccer and scoreboards for the b-ball teams as well as for the football team,” said Corrine Palacios, organizer of this year’s race. “There’s a list of needs. I think Los Altos and Mountain View are paired to eventually get lights for the school. That’s a big push to get lights for the football fields.”
The event isn’t the only turkey trot – there’s also the much larger Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose. However, the Spartan Turkey Trot is billed as more of a community event for those living in and around Mountain View and Los Altos, according to Palacios. Some participants run in costume, others casually trot the course – but Palacios said all are guaranteed to get home before 11 a.m. to celebrate the holiday with their families.
Palacios added that last year, her first working the turkey trot, “was crisp and colorful and (with) lots of smiles, costumes and pictures. … “The kids races are really the highlight. … It’s just a lot of fun for everybody cheering them on, and they’ve got a crowd cheering them on, which makes it a lot of fun.”
This year, there will be new timing chips so that runners can see their times online after the event.
The 5K run is scheduled at 8:30 a.m., the 5K walk at 8:35 a.m., the kids runs (60 and 400 yards) at 9:30 a.m. and the Spartan Mile at 10 a.m. Race-day registration is slated to begin at 7:30 a.m.
Online registration fees are $30 adults, $20 children ages 5-17, $15 high school district students and $10 children under 5. In-person registration, set to begin at 7:30 a.m., is an additional $5.
To register online and for more information, visit mvhsturkeytrot.shutterfly.com.