What better way to start a day of giving thanks and eating a big meal than a jog at the beach? Wilmington Beach is the site for the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day morning.
Breathe in the ocean air, go for a 5K run or a one-mile walk and take the opportunity to give back. The run, now in its eighth year, is a benefit to raise money for Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity.
Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity
Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity provides housing for needy families. It does this by building high-quality affordable homes. The organization offers interest-free mortgages and sells the homes at cost to needy families.
Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity just finished its first community, the Cottages at Cornerstone, this year. Forty homes have been built in Wilmington with volunteer labor. Sponsors have donated money and materials. The families that moved in have also pitched in.
The race course
Registration for the Turkey Trot begins at 7:30 a.m. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. The 5K loop starts out at the Wilmington Beach Park on Harbor Island. It passes the Seapath Yacht Club, heads out along the beach to Johnny Mercer’s Pier and crosses back, with a final stretch through the arboretum.
Walkers follow a one-mile course. Children 10 and under walk the one-mile course free. If they want to be timed, they can also register and pay the adult fee.
Along the beach
Chances are the race won’t be the only activity going on that morning. If the waves are any good, there will be early-morning surfers. Wilmington Beach is a very popular surf beach. It was one of the first beaches established for surfers in this country.
There are numerous surf shops along the avenues, along with restaurants, groceries and other shops. The ocean, the sound and the inland waterways and channels also support boating, kayaking, stand-up paddleboardng, windsurfing, canoeing, and kite boarding.
Johnny Mercer’s Pier
Johnny Mercer’s Pier is a very popular fishing pier. The original wood pier was destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996. It has since been rebuilt in concrete. Anglers will no doubt be on hand as one of the sights on the morning run.
There will be families out for a stroll. The entire four-mile-long island is easily accessible on foot. Boats will be arriving for the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, which takes place on the weekend.
Runners will pass resort hotels, exclusive condominiums and 100-year-old cottages that have been restored. Wilmington Beach is a stop along the Atlantic coastal migration route. At this time of year, many species of water birds will be passing through.
Birdwatchers will enjoy identifying species in the marshes and along the shores.
The race is completely flat. Prizes will be awarded immediately after the race. There will be a t-shirt giveaway. Food is available at the starting point. Don’t eat too much, though. Thanksgiving dinner is coming up next.