Go-go gobbler

BCEF Turkey Trot is a serious Fun Run with all the right ‘stuff’

This year's Turkey Trot for Education will be held on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. at Clayton Homes. On-site registration will be from 1-2:30 p.m.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

This year's Turkey Trot for Education will be held on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. at Clayton Homes. On-site registration will be from 1-2:30 p.m.

Turkeys make great mascots.

See for yourself at the Second Annual Clayton Homes Turkey Trot for Education on Sunday, Nov. 21.

Formerly known as the “Run for Education,” the Turkey Trot is an annual 5K and 1-mile Fun Run/Walk to benefit Blount County Education Foundation (BCEF) and its mini-grant program. The mini-grants and BCEF supports all Blount County Schools.

“Mini-grants are a very important component of our educational system in Blount County,” Director of Schools Rob Britt said. “Funds from this program provide valuable resources to our teachers that they may not necessarily be able to have without this support from the BCEF.”

“Every year the BCEF provides a variety of mini-grants to fund innovative educational projects,” said Janet Gilson, a BCEF board member and the programs and education manager for Blount Memorial Business Health. “These much needed grants often fund educational programs that get cut from tight school budgets. That’s why the success of the Turkey Trot is so important for Blount County Schools.”

Last year, the Turkey Trot helped raised more than $15,000 for BCEF mini-grants, which support language arts, math, history and science programs, equip classrooms with educational supplies and technology, and inspire students from kindergarten through high school.

“The Turkey Trot continues to build on the tradition established by the BCEF’s Run for Education, and we expect this year’s event to be even bigger and better than in years past,” said Linda Whitehead, president of the BCEF and an investment representative at First National Bank. “Community and business support is even stronger, and we are confident we will raise more money than ever for our mini-grant program and Blount County Schools!”

Race organizers with the BCEF and Clayton Homes expect nearly 1,000 runners and walkers at this year’s Turkey Trot, which marks the ninth year for this run for education.

“Everyone working on the Turkey Trot is energized about this year’s event. It has all the elements we care about in promoting education, fitness and community,” said David Jordan, BCEF board member and corporate controller for Clayton Homes.

It also has the ingredients to attract supporters and participants. As a USA Track-and-Field certified course, the event gains credibility among serious runners, according to Megan Duncan, a wellness specialist at Clayton Homes. Each 5k runner or walker will be given a timing chip to accurately clock their speed on the course. The course begins and ends at Clayton Homes Corporate Headquarters, 5000 Clayton Road in Maryville.

While the race and certified course may attract avid runners, Duncan said the Turkey Trot is tailored to appeal to people of all ages and physical skill levels as well as encourage community wellness.

“It’s as a great way for individuals, teams and families to be active before indulging on Thanksgiving Day.” Duncan said.

The Turkey Trot is also stuffed with opportunities to generate school spirit. This year, the event features a Blount County School Trot Challenge. The top three Blount County Schools with the highest percent of participation will win cash prizes. Money will also be awarded to the top three schools with the most number of total registered and paid entries.

A school competition wouldn’t be complete without a trophy. So, an official Turkey Trot Trophy will be presented to one high school, one middle school and one elementary school with the highest percent of participation. Every year, the Turkey Trot Trophy will be passed along to the next winning school.

“It’s great to hear that the BCEF and other Turkey Trot organizers have added a Blount County School challenge to the event. It’s a fun way to encourage staff and students to get more involved and help raise money for a vital program that directly impacts their school and enhances their educational resources,” Britt said.

In addition to trophies and trotting, there will be live entertainment. Local band, 3 Cubicles Down, will play from 1-2:30 p.m. and again as runners cross the finish lines. There also will be door prizes, category awards and food for participants following the race. Among the awards is a $100 prize to be presented to the male and female overall 5K winners.

Award and race details are online at www.TurkeyTrotForEducation.org. Registration forms are also available online, and at all Blount County Schools, the Central Office and inside Blount Today.

The deadline for early registration is Nov. 15. On-site registration is Nov. 21 from 1-2:30 p.m. at Clayton Homes Corporate Headquarters, with the race starting at 3 p.m. For more information about registration, contact Megan Duncan at 865-380-3000 (ext. 2919).

The BCEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Since 1990, the Foundation has delivered needed educational tools to teachers and students in all Blount County Schools. While a separate entity from the school system, the BCEF works closely with teachers, principals and central administration to understand and address the most pressing, unmet needs. The BCEF acts as a bridge between school needs and community resources by seeking both financial support and donated services from generous individuals and corporations. Visit the BCEF at www.blountcountyeducationfoundation.org.

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