For most of us, Thanksgiving has always been a great holiday tradition, filled with lots of eating, football games, fitful family gatherings (some crazy, some less so), friends and lots of eating (did I mention the eating?). Leave it to the Y to inject this great holiday with some exercise, an opportunity to get out of the house in the morning (a little early for some people’s tastes, particularly those home from college), random encounters of neighbors and friends, and a large mass of humanity.
The Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K has now become THE Thanksgiving event in Central Maryland. This past Thursday almost 14,000 of your closest friends pounded the streets of seven communities to run, jog, walk, stumble and/or some combination thereof to raise over $730,000 net (estimated – finalized numbers are still being calculated) for our Y and those who struggle to afford preschool, after school and summer camp programs for their children. That’s a tremendous increase in both funds raised (17%) and participation over last year’s big numbers! It’s hard to deny that the Y Turkey Trot Charity 5k is the trifecta of events: good for each participant; good for the community as a whole; and good for the people who will be the recipients of so much generosity and enthusiasm.
All I can say is THANK YOU!
Now, for those of you who like numbers, here you go:
Race Location # Participants % Increase over last year
Arnold 1,485 26%
Baltimore City 1,325 16%
Bel Air 2,935 7%
Ellicott City 2,284 0%
Perry Hall 494 Inaugural Year!
Towson 3,208 9%
Westminster 2,130 0%
Total – All Races 13,861 11%
Thursday was also a feast for the eyes, as the wide variety of people and dogs participating had a great time.
An event of this magnitude doesn’t happen without a lot of dedicated and talented people pitching in and helping support what is a massive organizational effort. Thanks go out to Title Sponsor LifeBridge Health and their CEO Neil Meltzer as well as all of our generous sponsors and the countless Y associates, volunteers and ambassadors who throw themselves into the behind-the-scenes intricacies required to give a party for 14,000 of your best friends!
I especially want to call out: Suzanne Green, who manages all of the operational logistics along with our good friends at Charm City Run with aplomb; Lindsay Crone, who devised and manages every aspect of the online experience, including the peer-to-peer fundraising, social media and the registration process; the Y Marketing team, who developed our sponsorship program and support it with a marketing arsenal that drives thousands of people to participate and thousands more to be aware of our cause; our Community Leadership Boards, Philanthropy team and Center Directors, who are the driving forces behind the effort to secure sponsors and support local logistics, and the over 500 volunteers who happily handled packet-pick up and critical race-day roles. As I mentioned last week, even the youngest among us in our Youth Development programs get in the game!
Literally no corner of the organization is untouched and all deserve my deepest thanks and praise. I am so proud of what this event has become, and I’m really excited about what it eventually will be! There’s lots of growth in our sights, which only means that there are a lot more families and young people who will get the enriching Y programming they relish and deserve. With so much focus in our recent political season on that which divides us, what a welcome (and needed) breath of fresh air it is to have a day like Thanksgiving and a moment like our Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K to remind us all of the ties which bind.
On behalf of the hundreds of children and families who will now be enabled to enjoy healthy, safe and engaging Y programs because of your combined help and generous spirits, all I can say is: Thank You!
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland