The 43rd annual Mayor’s Turkey Day Run was a return to form, with over 1,500 runners, joggers and walkers kicking off their two mile and 10K routes at the sound of a blunderbuss Thursday morning at the Kenosha Civil War Museum, 5400 First Ave.
Runners make their way up Sixth Avenue during the 43rd Annual Mayor’s Turkey Day Run on Thanksgiving.
The run began at 9 a.m., with two routes around Kenosha’s lakefront. A medal ceremony was held afterwards inside the Civil War Museum. Awards included the Mayor’s Cup Trophy for the overall male and female top finishers in the 10k and two mile races, along with awards for each age group.
After cancelling in 2020 and seeing reduced attendance in 2021, Kenosha Running Club race director Sherri Donnelly said this year’s event was largely in line with pre-pandemic attendance.
“Which we’re really excited about, after COVID things really took a dip so we’re glad to see the numbers up,” Donnelly said.
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Kevin Ryan, center, races to first in the 2-mile event during the 43rd Annual Mayor’s Turkey Day Run on Thanksgiving.
There was a wide range of participants, from parents with their children, seniors, a handful of Spider-men and even a few bold banana-outfit-clad racers, like Nick Eggert and Matt Christensen.
“We do this every year, it’s been 10, 15 years,” Nick said. “You gotta make room for the food later.”
Rich and Erin Preston were there with their 11-year-old son Riley, who was wearing a cumbersome turkey hat. Rich said Erin was the runner of the trio, although Riley had done some races in the past. And Rich?
“I do what my wife tells me,” Rich said, laughing.
Erin said the run was a good way to get the family outdoors and burn some calories before the festivities later that day, and Rich said they were running into plenty of old faces in the crowd.
“It’s good to see family and friends, we bump into a lot of people down here,” Rich said.
The two mile race was led by Kevin Ryan, a former Kenosha resident who now lives in Milwaukee, who blazed to the end in just over 10 and half minutes. The grandson of Jim Ryan, the Kenosha Running Club’s founder, Kevin said he’s placed second place five times in past races.
“I really didn’t know how I was gonna do,” Ryan said. “It’s fun to win the race that he started.”
Donnelly said the event attracted so many people because of the community and familial aspects.
“It’s the tradition of families being able to do something active before the Thanksgiving activities,” Donnelly said. “It brings families together.”
The Kenosha Mayor’s Turkey Day Run began in 1906 as a Thanksgiving Day morning tradition, although it was not always held annually and stopped in the early 1950s. When the Kenosha Running Club formed in 1978, the race came back to life.
The Kenosha Running Club is open to local runners, walkers and joggers of all ability levels, with the goal to promote and expand running, health and fitness in the Kenosha area.