For the community of Mundelein, Thanksgiving is about more than food with friends and family; it is also the day of the annual Miles for Mustangs ‘Turkey Trot.’
Hosted by the MHS cross country program, the Thanksgiving run, a tradition for about eight years, is a way to bring the community together on Thanksgiving Day.
“It allows people of all ages to participate and have fun together,” said Dillon Blake, senior captain of the cross country team.
Community members, teachers and former MHS track and cross country athletes attend this run and gather together on the high school track at 8 a.m. There was also a light breakfast for the runners.
“The runners love starting and finishing on the track,” said Kurt Rutz, head coach of the cross country/track team.
The first race of the day was the 5K run, which not only started and ended on the school track but continued around the subdivisions to the west of the school. It’s the same course every year.
Following the 5K was a one-mile run for kids 10 years of age and under. The one-mile race takes place on the track, too.
After all races, there is a prize given to a male and female winner in each age group, to the fastest male and female alumni and to the first dog finisher.
“There were three runners who brought their dogs, and at the final 100 meters of the race, the dogs were unleashed and raced to the finish,” said senior Sarah Chambers, an event volunteer and a member of the cross country team. “It was all really cute.”
The cross country team hosts this event with the proceeds benefitting the program. The proceeds include the pre-registration fee of $25, the sales from the $10 shirts and the purchases of raffle tickets. The athletes help obtain donations, set up the course and assist with the event on race day.
“We had in excess of 20-25 runners helping out this year,” Rutz said.
On a day of thanks, the Turkey Trot brings together all of those who want to burn off a few calories before a big turkey dinner and is a memorable event, not only for those who participate, but for the runners who volunteer.
Blake and Rutz both agreed that the best part is seeing all the familiar faces.
Blake said, “My favorite part is seeing the cross country/track alumni continue to be a part of the team by participating.”