On a mild Thanksgiving Day with ideal weather, nearly 3,200 runners were up and out early at Evanston’s lakefront for the 11th edition of the Flying Turkey 5K run.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Jonathan Cain, one of the event’s organizers said. Cain, who dressed up as a turkey, also ran the race, with contestants being challenged to beat his time of about 21 minutes. 

The Thursday race featured Evanstonians as well as visitors, with participants as young as 4 and as old as 76.

“It’s a great way to start the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Mike Lowe, who on Thursday made his sixth appearance at the race. 

Lowe, who grew up in Evanston and now lives in Chicago, is a reporter at WGN-TV. He said his New Year’s resolution was to run a 5K each calendar month. His two brothers, visiting from out of town, were with him. “We’re running as a family.”

The annual run is “great for Evanston,” Lowe said, as it brings the community together.

The Thursday race brought both a sense of holiday cheer, coupled with a competitive spirit.”I’d like to run a good pace,” Peter Hanig, who’s in his 70s and has been running for nearly 45 years, said prior to the Thursday race. 

While “it was tough at the end,” he said, he did feel great after the run.

Gedion Yitref, who finished first in the Thursday, poses with his award. Credit: Manan Bhavnani

This was Chicagoan Ibon Hernandez first Evanston Thanksgiving race. “I’m trying to run under 28 minutes,” she said prior to the race. Hernandez has been competing in 5Ks since 2018.

Following the race, several runners received awards across various categories, including for overall time, age group and gender.

“I feel good,” said Gedion Yitref, a science teacher at ETHS and the cross country coach, finished just shy of the 17-minute mark, coming in first at Thursday’s event.

Yitref has been running this race for six years. He said that it was nice to see familiar faces. Yitref added he hopes to beat this year’s time at next year’s race.

At Thursday’s race people were also asked to give back, food donations were collected for the Evanston Vineyard Food Pantry, as well as clothing and footwear donations for other local charities.

Manan Bhavnanireporter

Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...

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