Turkey Trot numbers drop, but spirits remain high

Isaacson Family
Courtesy of Lisa Isaacson
The Isaacson family participates in the virtual Spartan Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving weekend.

Just as organizers feared, this year’s Spartan Turkey Trot saw a dramatic drop in participants due to the pandemic-induced format change.

The 11th annual race was virtual, and most of last year’s entrants didn’t take part in what’s been a popular community event on Thanksgiving morning at Mountain View High.

Volunteer race director Kjersti Nelson said 380 people registered for last month’s run/walk, which reached its cap of 1,400 participants a year ago.

“We knew not as many people would do it this year,” said Brett Schiller, president of the Mountain View High School Sports Boosters. “We expected about 500, but that was speculation – we didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Fewer people means fewer dollars were raised for Mountain View High athletics, which Nelson said receives 100% of the proceeds. The race brought in $6,323 this year. It typically raises more than $20,000, according to Schiller.

“We won’t be able to work as far down our list of items on the project list,” said Schiller, whose club in past years has used the money to purchase new uniforms and equipment and also upgrade facilities. “But we had already adjusted our budgeting, so we’ll be fine.”

Down year or not, Schiller added that it was important to hold the race – and he wasn’t alone in that thinking.

“Based on the feedback I’ve received from a handful of participants, I think families and individuals really enjoyed keeping with tradition and participating in the Spartan Turkey Trot,” Nelson said.

Although it was virtual – participants were able to tackle the 5K and/or the Spartan Mile anytime over Thanksgiving weekend on a course of their choosing – competition was still fierce. After all, prizes were at stake.

“The results are considered unofficial in regards to course records, since it was not required to run on the traditional course, and timing was based on the on-your-honor system,” Nelson said. “However, I have to say, people really went out and competed. I’m so enthused by the sincere effort people put into their races. We had some seriously fast competition.”

Nick Tsotu won the men’s 5K, with Nico Trepanier finishing second and Emmanuel Leblond third. Maya Weigel placed first in the women’s 5K, while Kate Stone came in second and Marina Glaus took third.
Spartan Mile winners were Trepanier for the men and Madeline Bennet for the women.

The top three finishers in each category won a Marie Callender’s pie and a gift certificate to A Runner’s Mind in downtown Los Altos.

But for many of those who took part, the top prize was spending time with family while exercising outdoors.

“While out on my own race, I saw families out wearing their Spartan Turkey Trot shirts walking, jogging and running,” Nelson said. “I took my own kids to the MVHS track for their race, and saw families out there, too. It was a really fun day.”

For complete results and more information on the Spartan Turkey Trot, visit

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