Elkhart, Nappanee events draw big crowds of runners, walkers

Around 3,000 people started their day by running or walking in an Elkhart County event Thursday.
Posted on Nov. 23, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — On a sunny, mild Thanksgiving morning, around 3,000 people ran or walked to help a cause before sitting down for a big meal.

In Elkhart, more than 2,000 people gathered for the fourth annual Turkey Stampede to benefit Faith Mission. The race has quickly become a holiday tradition for many families.

In Nappanee, the ninth annual I’m Thankful Four Run attracted more than 800 runners. Race organizer Mark Mikel said unofficially 810 people ran, though some of those participated by running in other states. The event included a two-mile and four-mile distance for running or walking.

Paula Turk, the stampede organizer, said everyone wants to know how many people ran and how much the event raised. “Can we take this another direction?” she said.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, she said. “We’re so grateful to the community. It’s just a cool thing,” she said of the event, that included one-mile, 3.1-mile and 6.2-mile distances.

She praised the work of Faith Mission to help the homeless in Elkhart. “They’re doing God’s work,” she said.

Last year, the event raised around $15,000 for the agency, according to Mike Perez, development director. Money will be counted this weekend, Turk said.

People often run in costume. Both races have runners dressed as turkeys for the fastest runners to chase. A number of people caught the turkeys in the Nappanee race. In Elkhart, “Ryan Greutman finished the 5K in 15:23, despite wearing the incredible bulky, seven pound costume,” according to Turk.

Amy Frankenberger, who had a baby earlier this year, ran her first 10K race (6.2 miles) after a number of 5Ks (3.1 miles.) “This was a great event,” she said, adding that it may be the start of a tradition for her. “It got me out of making the turkey,” she said.

The Nappanee event set a record for number of participants. Money raised from the race goes toward the Kelsey Mikel Memorial Foundation, which funds scholarships. Kelsey died in August 2004 in an automobile crash. Her family started the race several months later. Prior to Thursday, the record for participants was 675 in 2010.

Mark Mikel called the race “probably our best ever.” A lot of first-time participants signed up due to word-of-mouth and social media. Quite a few people caught the three “turkeys” to win a prize, he said.

He’s estimating the event raised $9,000 to fund two scholarships.

The Elkhart run may need to move to another location in the city next year because of its fast growth, Perez said. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think it’d be this big already,” he said.

Stampede results


Female winners:

Kayla Garrett, 18:04.4

Kelli Palm, 18:51.7

Cheryl Trease, 19:25.5

Male winners:

Austin Ganger, 15:22.2

Joe Hartman, 15:25.7

Blake O’Dell, 15:36.8

Full 5K results can be viewed at epicracetiming.com.


Female winners:

Jennifer Conte, 32:10.1

Kierceton Spurlock, 32.48.6

Gina Weeden, 32:49.7

Male winners:

Tony Spalding, 34:23.2

Rustin Nyce, 35:46.1

Andrew Devereank, 37:46.3

Full 10K results can be viewed at epicracetiming.com.

I’m Thankful Four results

People who caught the turkey pacesetter this year, earning a prize:

Males (Male Turkey: Corban Wyatt)

Tyler Wynn – Course Record 19:41

Caleb Darr, Jody Sarber, Jack Adams, Jose Medina,Toby Magers, Adam Polhemus, Mark Davidhizar, Nick Skwarcan, Chad Sommers, Bill Kulwicki, Aaron Cripe, Zach Telschow, Reid Yoder, Carter Dyksen, Mitchell Hunsberger, Matt Ray, Colton Klein, Dave Berkey, Aaron Graber, Jeff Martin, Tim Trapp, Jamin Parker, Jesse Martinez, Carson Kuck, Tom Yoder, Jay Schrock, Alec Kuck, Derek Weldy, Caleb Reeve, Nate Hahn, David Lopez

George Lopez, Steve Kulwicki, Galen Miller, Jon Cook and Kieth Miller.

Females (Female Turkey: Cynthia Medina)

Sarah Ray, Jennifer Schrock, Erin Stickley, Amanda Williams, Ruth Divine, Candy Frick and Karlie Kratchmar.

Butterball (Butterball Turkey: Jeremy Bear)

Jason Deardorff, Gret Mullett, Craig Coffman and Kerry Cripe.

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