More than 400 people braved cool temperatures and soggy weather conditions for the Turkey Trot at Clayton Homes on Sunday, Nov. 22.
The event, formerly known as the Run for Education, boasted a new name and a new location as the event was held at the Clayton Homes headquarters.
David Jordan, president of the Blount County Education Foundation board said a final total for the amount raised wasn’t available as of Dec. 1 but he was enthusiastic about the turnout.
“We made more than we’ve ever made when you look back on Run for Education. For the 5-K run, we had close to 550 register. Not all those folks showed, but they prepaid and registered. We had about 100 register for 1-mile fun run, which is really good,” he said.
Jordan said the rain that fell in the hours before the event kept a lot of people away. “Concerning the things we could control, we were really happy. It was cool, and runners like cool weather, but it was raining,” he said. “It rained until an hour or two before the race. A lot of people made their decisions they weren’t coming, but having said that we had a real good crowd.”
The foundation board president said the money goes to fund mini-grants to schools within the Blount County School System. “Mini-grants to the schools are our largest commitment,” he said.
Jordan said the foundation likes to fund between $30,000 and $40,000 annually in mini-grants to the schools. Historically the grant requests have been for items that aren’t provided by county, state and federal funds. One mini-grant, for example, was for a weather set for measuring humidity and temperature and they get many requests for technology, Jordan said.
“We see a lot of requests for that Smart boards, projectors and computers,” he said. “These days, you see more of that than anything else.”
The change in venue for Turkey Trot was new, and the race was a USA Track and Field certified race for the first time. In the past the Run for Education had been held in alternating years at either William Blount High School or Heritage High School.
“We thought it would raise awareness quite a bit to bring it into a centralized location, and Clayton is a big supporter of the education foundation,” he said. “We felt locating it here would be a great boost for the event and give the foundation a boost by putting the Clayton name on it as a major sponsor. The foundation wanted to make the event larger, attract more runners and bring in more money.”