Despite a steady downpour, more than 300 people ranging in age from 4 to 82 showed up for the first annual Tukee Trot 5K the day after Thanksgiving.
The run began at 8:30 a.m., but many runners arrived as early as two hours ahead of time in the cold dark to get their racing packets and t-shirts.
“It was great to have a race like this in our community, especially around Thanksgiving when families were together, and alumni were home visiting and could enjoy the run together,” said Michael Bucci, a cross-country coach at Desert Vista High School.
The weather did not dampen the spirits of the participants as they arrived with running shoes on their feet and smiles on their faces.
“It brought people together, even in the cold rain and it was heartwarming to see,” said April Donihi, a participant and one of the volunteers who helped to plan the event.
The race started and ended just outside the Desert Vista student parking lot.
“The best part of the event was witnessing the level of community involvement in putting on an event of this size after Thanksgiving holiday and the level of family participation at this event despite the inclement weather. It was a wonderful way to bring the local community together,” said Ean White, who placed fifth in the men’s 40-49 category.
The 5K portion of the event was a success and many people finished with impressive times.
For women overall, Megan Ping came in first; Tracy Campagnano, second; and Eryn Schimisseur, third. For overall men, Seamus White placed first, followed by Reece Donihi and Bryce Schimisseur, second and third place, respectively.
“It was fun running around on our streets with other people from the community,” said Erin Hammond, who came in third for women in the 19-24 category.
The event also featured a mile-long fun run for kids, called the “Quail Run.”
Desert Vista cross-country alumnus Matt Anciaux sported a quail costume, complete with headpiece and wings, as kids chased him around the perimeter of Vista Canyon Park.
At the end of the race, tents were set up to hand out Tukee Trot mugs as well as water bottles, chocolate milk, granola bars, bananas, and bagels courtesy of BagelMan.
Tukee Trot was planned entirely by local volunteers over many months.
It would not have been possible if not for the support of community volunteers, Desert Vista High School, the Phoenix Police and the Phoenix Parks Department, organizers said.
“There were so many people who could have stayed home and chosen not to. It was great to see it all come together and without them, it could not have happened!” said Donihi.
The race was also sponsored by several local vendors, including Global Bikes, Sole Sports, Orfe Kelly Real Estate, Illuminate You Fitness, The Ahwatukee Foothills News, The Kyrene Foundation and Prichette Physical Therapy.
This 5K was created not only as a community and family experience but also to help benefit the Kyrene Resource Center.
The Kyrene Resource Center supports Kyrene students and their families with immediate needs, including food, clothing, hygiene items, and school supplies.
Participants of the Tukee Trot were encouraged to bring toys to donate to the Center to help with their upcoming Winter Wonderland.
Winter Wonderland is an annual event where families can come to receive Christmas gifts and pajamas for their children as well as a Bashas’ gift card.
Last year, the center provided gifts for 232 families. In addition to toy donations, the event raised $1,000 for the Center.
Overall, the event was a success both in helping benefit the Kyrene Resource Center and in helping bring the community together.
“Given positive word of mouth and better weather conditions, I predict the turnout will be even better next year. I highly encourage our neighbors to consider participating in this event next year,” said White.