ISHPEMING - For people looking to pre-emptively burn some calories before their Thanksgiving Day feast, while at the same time helping those in the community whose tables may not be so bountifully filled, the inaugural "IshpeTurkey Trot for Hunger" is exactly what they're looking for.
The 5K/10K walk-run race will start at Ishpeming High School at 9 a.m. Thursday - with registration beginning at 7:30 at the IHS gymnasium entrance on Fourth Street - and will follow a course on the section of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail stretching from where the trail comes out on Division Street near the former Cliffs Natural Resources brownstone in Ishpeming to the former train depot in Negaunee.
Tyler Gauthier, an account executive at St. Onge Insurance and the creator and organizer of the event, said the race is an opportunity to give to those in the community who are most in need this time of year, while at the same time involving the community itself in the giving.
"What we wanted to do was have a way to get people involved in the Ishpeming community and Negaunee community, and be able to give back at the same time and get people to be a part of it," Gauthier said.
Registration costs a minimum $5 donation per person, and runners are also encouraged to bring non-perishable foods, which will be given to the TV6 Canathon.
All of the money raised by the race will be donated to the Ishpeming Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul. Not only that, Gauthier said, but St. Onge will match the proceeds from the race dollar for dollar. He said the Salvation Army plans to use the money to purchase and distribute Christmas turkeys to those in need, while Vinnie's will put the proceeds toward their food program, which aims to make and distribute holiday food baskets.
Gauthier said St. Onge recognizes that there is a community need for assistance, and that the Salvation Army and Vinnie's have told them that need becomes much greater this time of year - be it for food or winter clothing or money to pay for heat.
"There's always a need for some kind of warmth or food for this time of year for this area," he said.
The race will hopefully become an annual event, Gauthier said, with the proceeds from future years potentially going to other forms of assistance, such as providing winter clothing or paying needy families' heating bills.
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org