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2015 Turkey Trot Raises Money For GRPS Pay to Play


More than 6,000 Grand Rapids students stand to benefit from the annual 'Turkey Trot' 5K run to be held on Thanksgiving day. 

Proceeds from the run allow students to “stay in the game” as it relates to pay-to-play sports.

“You know our mantra is use your feet before you eat…”

Kurt Johnson is the executive director of athletics at Grand Rapids Public Schools.  He says they’re partnering with Blue Care Network of Michigan for the 23rd annual run, held on Thanksgiving day.

“[It] gives you a chance to burn some of those calories that you might take in later that day.”

Johnson says this event is meant to be a good time.  It serves as a healthy way to start your Thanksgiving - but it ends with a tremendous benefit for students. 

With more than 1,800 already registered and up to 2,500 expected, Johnson says they hope to raise between $30,000 to $40,000 to offset costs of pay-to-play athletics.

“And if you’re familiar with any pay-to-play athletics, you know that it can be very costly - from $250-$300 for a kid to participate in one sport. And that can be a challenge.”

The Turkey Trot has taken place in several different locations over the years, and is now centered through the streets of downtown. It starts at 8 a.m. at the Van Andel Arena. 

And this year, Johnson says they’ve made a special addition to the race.

“My Team Triumph (will be there), which is an organization who have runners that like to participate in races but need special assistance. So they might be in wheelchairs or strollers, or just have what they call angels assist them in the races - so this year they’re going to join us in the race.”

Again, the race starts at 8 a.m., with the kids trot at 8:40 a.m. 

Interested parties can still register and find all the details at grps.org/athletics.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
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