Well! In the fall of 1994, Jill Williamson, the fitness director at the then Towson Y (now the Orokawa Y in Towson), suggested a 5k as a way to raise money for Y programs. The team decided to hold it on Thanksgiving morning and the rest, as they say, is history!
Armed with support from members, the team secured sponsors and got local media coverage for the day of the event.
Starting with approximately 150 runners and nine sponsors, the team launched something they were passionate about. By the year 2000, the race was up to 19 sponsors! And last year, in 2018, almost 3,000 runners joined in the fun!
The Towson community fully embraced this wonderful family-friendly tradition, and before long, it spread throughout central Maryland.
Now the race spans 7 Y locations and almost 15,000 runners!
In 2018, together we raised $850,000 for children in families in central Maryland who otherwise would not be able to afford Y programs and services such as preschool, before and after school enrichment and other programs to support health and well-being.
Though Jill’s involvement with the Y and her Y Center has changed (she’s now a personal trainer at the Greater Annapolis Y in Arnold), she’s still involved with the Y’s Turkey Trot Charity 5k. In fact, she’s been coordinating the race route for the Y Turkey Trot in Arnold for the past few years.
We hope to see you at this year’s Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning! Whether you want to run, walk, volunteer or raise money to support your community, there’s something for everyone! Register now.
To celebrate, the Northern Baltimore County Y Volunteer Community Leadership Board is hosting a Silver Jubilee Celebration at the Valley Inn on November 21 with happy hour specials, giveaways, and a 50/50 raffle. It’s free and you can RSVP here!
Special thanks to Northern Baltimore County Community Leadership Board member Rich Zink for his long-standing support of the Towson race, and for his assistance in researching the original race.