GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Runners and walkers can work off their Thanksgiving meal calories ahead of the meal at the Grand Rapids Turkey Trot which is celebrating its 30th year. 

The annual run helps support Grand Rapids Public Schools student athletes.  The Trot is a 5k, or 3.1 miles, but participants have the option to run or walk.  The event begins promptly at 8:30 am on Thursday next to the Van Andel Arena downtown.  

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Proceeds from the run help offset costs for student athletes participating in Grand Rapids Public Schools sports programs.  

“Move your feet before you eat!” Turkey Trot co-director Holly Visser said, “This is our largest fundraiser on behalf of the GRPS Foundation for the schools for sports programming all year, so it’s incredibly important in order to uplift all the students in all the sports.” 

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Some teachers and coaches had the opportunity to weigh in on the importance of the run/walk.  

“In any high school community, athletics is a big part of it,” Ottawa Hills High School Athletic Director Marcus Harris said. 

Another athletic director agreed with him, and highlighted the role sports play in shaping students.  

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“One of the things we always try to accomplish is having a well rounded scholar, and athletics plays a huge role in that,” Union High School Athletic Director Justin Walker said, “Students who participate in athletics data shows that they have higher G.P.A.s, graduate on time, they have less incidents in school, they have a greater connection to their community and their school.” 

Last year more than 4,200 people participated in the race, but signups as of Tuesday indicate that only 3,800 have signed up for this year’s race so far. 

In a Facebook post, event coordinators showed off a limited edition 30th anniversary Grand Rapids Turkey Trot medal presented by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  

‘It’s not too late to join Thursday’s 5k run/walk! Register on the spot from 8AM – 1:30 PM at UNION High School.  You can also register through the link below:” the GRTT Facebook said.