SAN JOSE -- The 8th annual Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot is set to the biggest ever, prompting officials to institute a first-ever registration cutoff for an event that has quickly become one of the country's largest Thanksgiving Day races.
This Thursday's 5K and 10K combination race will be limited to 25,000 participants, with an anticipated surge in registration in the days leading up to the trot, so there's no time to waste, race organizers say.
The event's profile has risen steadily since the inaugural run in 2005, which had 1,900 runners and walkers, and raised $132,000 for its targeted charities, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Housing Trust and Children's Health Initiative.
With the huge increase in participation, organizers are setting their sights on raising $750,000, which would push their eight-year fundraising total to more than $3 million.
Carl Guardino, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group who with wife Leslee founded the race, credited Bay Area residents with making it a Thanksgiving Day tradition in a relatively short time. The race stands as the second largest of its kind in the United States, just shy of a Thanksgiving race in Detroit.
"It's a tribute to the generosity of the community, the engagement of the companies and the desire of residents to start the holidays in a fun and healthy way," Guardino said.
Guardino placed emphasis on the "healthy" element, noting that the average American consumes 4,000 calories on the holiday, which for many is about twice the recommended caloric intake for a day.
In addition to the 5K and 10K offerings, the race features a costume contest and kids' fun run.
The current San Jose Police Academy class plans to run to the event site in formation, led by a flag-bearer, before participating in the formal race and volunteering for the remainder of the event once they finish, as part of their community service project. They will be joined by the regional police academy.
To account for the added race capacity, the respective starting and finish lines at Santa Clara and Market streets and Santa Clara and Delmas streets will be expanded. Additionally, 10,000 free parking spaces will be provided, and unlike previous years, the Highway 87 offramps will be kept open to encourage easy access to the race headquarters at Guadalupe Park and the Arena Green.
For more information about the race, including registration and bib pickup, go to http://svturkeytrot.com.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.