Thousands flock to downtown Grand Rapids for Turkey Trot supporting GRPS student athletes

by 24USATVNov. 24, 2022, 9:40 p.m. 17

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Before stuffing their stomachs with Thanksgiving turkey, over 4,500 people participated Thursday in the 30th annual Turkey Trot in downtown Grand Rapids.

The 5K race, hosted by Blue Care Network, started at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 24 at the Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton St. W and finished on the south side of the arena on Oakes Street.

Proceeds from the event help support Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), so students will not have to “pay to play” in order to participate in sports. In 2021, the Turkey Trot raised more than $100,000. The final tally for today’s race has not yet been released.

Related: Over 3,000 registered for 30th annual Grand Rapids Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving day

“I am so thankful for a community that shows up big to support our GRPS scholars, to provide them opportunities to thrive and take away valuable lessons like teamwork and sportsmanship,” said Holly Visser, Grand Rapids Public Schools Foundation Director and Co-Race Director, in a press release.

Ryan Grotenrath, a 23-year-old man from Coopersville, placed first in the men’s division with a race time of 15:21. Alexis Baskin, a 19-year-old from Grand Rapids, was the top female finisher with a time of 15:31. More Race results can be found here:

Some of the racers were GRPS students who wanted to help support their school athletic programs such as Syriana Hodges, who participated in the race for the first time along with another district teen.

“We were just like, ‘lets do it for the people and the city,’” Hodges said Thursday.

“The Grand Rapids Public Schools Turkey Trot has turned 30 and we thank all the runners, walkers and sponsors who helped us celebrate” said Kurt Johnson, GRPS Executive Director of Athletics and Co-Race Director, in a Thursday press release.

“Every year we are humbled by the support that people all across West Michigan show to our worthy scholar-athletes.”

This year’s final 5K participant count was 4,504, up 245 people from last year’s 4,259, according to a press release. There was also a free LMCU Mini Trot for children that started at 8:10 a.m.

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