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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Community Comes Together on Thanksgiving Morning

The Gig Harbor Turkey Trot celebrates 19 years kicking off the Thanksgiving holiday

By Jillian Chandler

“It has truly been an inspiring and great experience to see family members and community members—and even the 50 percent of the participants who aren't even from the Gig Harbor area—come together and participate in such a ‘family’ adventure,” shares Timothy Holmes, organizer of the Gig Harbor Turkey Trot.

The Gig Harbor Turkey Trot was introduced in 2002: As Timothy shares, “Twenty years ago, my son challenged me to run a marathon with him. I'd never even run a 5k, much less a marathon. I looked to see if I could participate in a Turkey Trot to help prepare me for the marathon … but there didn't seem to be any locally that I could sign up for. So, I let my friends, patients and other townspeople and local businesses know of my desire to do this early morning Turkey Trot. My wife, Heidi, agreed to help (as long as I helped get the family Thanksgiving turkey meal together afterward).”

Those who participated were asked to bring just two cans of food to be donated to the local FISH Food Bank. “It was a blast, so we decided to do it again the next year,” he recalls.

Its first year drew 15 participants. The following year, the couple anticipated 50 participants and were surprised when more than 200 locals and visitors showed up to take part in the walk/run. In 2019, they had a record-breaking 3,200-plus walkers and runners!

Now in its 19th year, the event will once again kick off with a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which will be sung by the winner of the Star Spangled Banner singing competition. 2021’s Turkey Trot, which will only offer the 5k, will begin at 8am on Thanksgiving morning (Thursday, November 25) at the Gig Harbor Post Office Parking Lot on Judson Street. Runners, walkers, joggers and strollers are all welcome.

Early registration is just $15 for those 13 and older, while those 12 and younger are free to participate. After November 22, registration will increase to $30. Registration, along with additional details, can be found online at

“We have so many to thank who are behind the scenes, such as Paul Miller of Rotary Club North, who organizes the important list of volunteers. And the members of the Gig Harbor Police Department, who give of their Thanksgiving morning to help make sure we have a successful event. The City of Gig Harbor administration has also been an important behind-the-scenes help. And to the many sponsors who have also helped with the success of the trot, we say thank you,” expresses Timothy.

Over the years, not only have thousands of cans of food been donated through the Gig Harbor Turkey Trot to help in projects such as Backpacks 4 Kids and FISH Food Bank, thousands of dollars have been donated to Peninsula and Gig Harbor high school students as scholarships for their college education.

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