More than 500 join Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

KAPAA — With more than three miles behind her, Marquita Maria Granda let out a victory cry Thursday morning. It was time to celebrate.

“We made it. We made it home. We did the race,” the Wailua Homesteads woman said with a big smile shortly after finishing the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.

Granda was beaming as she relaxed at Kapaa Beach Park, where the fun run started and ended. She speed walked her way to Kealia Beach and back. It wasn’t quite as far as she hoped, but good enough to see her grinning with delight.

“My feet are hurting, but I feel good,” she said. “I walk every day. I like to speed walk. It just gets me high.”

And knowing there would be plenty of food later in the day was more motivation to exercise early.

“Everyone should get out there. If they’re going to eat turkey, they need to walk or run,” Granda said.

Sunny, blue skies and temperatures in the 70s greeted a festive crowd of about 550 that turned out for the Old Town Kapaa Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. The free Turkey Trot is an informal 5K, 10K, fun walk, run, or bicycle ride on Ke Ala Hele Makalae.

Besides giving folks an active way to start their day, it was also a chance to donate nonperishable food for Hale Hoomalu, or donate to the Kauai Path.

Randy Blake, an organizer, was thrilled with the strong support.

“It was a bigger-than-expected turnout and the weather was great,” he said.

Ryan Yanagisawa of Oahu was on Kauai visiting family for the holidays and took part in the 10K with his wife as part of his training for the Honolulu Marathon next weekend.

He enjoyed the scenery, the food, the camaraderie and the chance to get a final tuneup in before the 26.2-mile race back home.

“Hopefully, my knee doesn’t act up,” he said.

Troy and Randi Keipper of Kapaa covered the 10K with Blue, their Siberian Husky. They’ve completed each Turkey Trot since it started four years ago.

“It lets you feel OK when you eat a bunch later in the day,” Troy said, laughing.

Randi, who will also be competing in the Honolulu Marathon, likes the Trot for its friendly, fun atmosphere, and that it includes kids and adults.

“It’s a good, family function,” she said.

There were plenty of volunteers helping out, too.

Aaron Martin, owner of activitykauai.com, was at the halfway point of the 10K handing out cups of water and offering words of encouragement. He said it’s important to support community activities like the Turkey Trot.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “It’s a way to keep all the people of Kauai active and healthy.”

And the runners, he added, were awesome.

“Everybody’s flying in, smacking back a cup of water and heading out,” he said.

Volunteer Angela Babcock was on roller skates as she, too, distributed water and good cheer.

“I really support all things health, wellness, and fitness oriented,” she said.

Like Martin, she found runners focused and “really charging this morning.”

“I think it’s a perfect way to burn some calories before you put them on,” Babcock said.

The trot even attracted spirited visitors.

Chris and Aimee Frank of San Jose, Calif., have for years participated in turkey trots back home. On Kauai to spend the holidays with family, they sought out a Thanksgiving day run.

“We were glad to hear about this one,” Chris said.

Thursday, both donned turkey-themed caps, which earned them some surprised stares but kudos and applause, too.

“I bought the hats,” Aimee said. “I like to embarrass my family.”