For the past six years, the Sullivan family has set aside Thanksgiving morning for the exact opposite of a giant meal. They have participated in Orland Park's annual Turkey Trot.
Mark Sullivan ran this year with his son Eddie and daughter Megan, as wife Julie cheered them on from the sidelines with sons Andy and Mark Jr.
“We have always done it,” said Megan Sullivan, about the Turkey Trot. “It is tradition.”
The lower level of the served as Turkey Trot central. Registration began at 7 a.m. where runners were given an anklet with a timing chip and their race number.
Nancy Flores, Village or Orland Park Director of Recreation, described the event as “an exciting, local homegrown tradition that families come back to year after year. We have grandparents who ran years ago returning with their grandchildren. It is really wonderful.”
By 8 a.m., all participants were gathered at the starting line on Ravinia Avenue and 147th Street ready to embark on the 2 ½ mile cross country race. The course included different terrains such as streets, sidewalks, grass and woodchipped paths. Runners from age 9 to over 70 took part in the run. Some took off running, while some walked and others pushed strollers.
Bridget Radzicki, 10, of Orland Park was excited to run the course with mom Kathy, dad Dave and sister Kelly.
“I think it is really fun,” she said.
Just minutes after the 8 a.m. start time, 24-year-old Tim Cech was first to cross the finish line. This is Cech’s 2nd year in a row to earn the title.
Carly Krull, 16, was the first girl to cross the finish line and took a moment to catch her breath after the race.
“I have been doing this since I was 10 years old,” said Krull of the annual Turkey Trot.
Refreshments and raffles were held after the event and several attendees walked away with great prizes generously donated by local businesses.