For the Solano Turkey Trot, 2016 was a record year.
Some 2,800 people participated in the Thanksgiving morning race at Solano Community College, the highest number of participants this event has seen since Saskia Lembesis started it in 2009.
The 2016 race brought in $58,207, which was split among three beneficiaries: Mission Solano, Meals on Wheels of Solano County and the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Suisun City.
During the years, the race has grown from 800 runners, and overall raised a total of $398,647 for local nonprofit organizations.
Carol Gilpin, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Vacaville, which organized the event in 2016, has a long-term goal to see the event grow to 5,000 runners.
Gilpin has been the race director of the Turkey Trot since 2011, and in 2015 became more involved with organizing the event overall.
Fleet Feet Sports took over the whole event in 2016.
Seasoned athletes aren’t the only ones who come to the event.
“It’s a tradition for a lot of families who aren’t really runners, they just walk,” Gilpin said.
The Kroc Center was a newcomer to this year’s event.
“The Turkey Trot is as community as you can get,” said Michael Brito, director of operations at the Kroc Center.
The Salvation Army serves some 60,000 people in Solano County, assisting them with food, utilities and emergency transportation, and this money will help them with that goal, he said.
“Without Carol there and Fleet Feet guiding and leading the way, it probably would not happen,” Brito said.
The money also will help Meals on Wheels buy food to prepare meals for its clients and Mission Solano in aiding homeless people throughout the county.
“It’s all locally used funds,” Gilpin said.
All three agencies help organize the event as well and supply volunteers to keep it organized.
Those volunteers help keep the course safe along with Medic Ambulance and the California Highway Patrol.
Overall, Gilpin, who also runs the Loop the Lagoon race event in Lagoon Valley, said she is committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles, exercise and getting outdoors in the community.
There are more than a dozen races around town, Gilpin said, with Fleet Feet keeping a community board in the store to keep Vacaville informed.
Plans are already in the works for the 2017 Turkey Trot.
“It’s an integral part of what we do and we’d love to be a part of it again,” Brito said.
For more information about the Solano Turkey Trot, visit www.solanoturkeytrot.org.