The Thanksgiving morning event at Nathan Benderson Park benefits SANCA.
Since Mike Padilla was visiting relatives in Lakewood Ranch, he thought he would get in a run on Thanksgiving morning.
That run turned into a win in the Florida Turkey Trot 5K as he ran 16:37 to best a field of 2,946 runners.
When the children participating in the kids dashes were added, the Florida Turkey Trot drew almost 3,000 runners to benefit the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates. In its first year in 2018, the race drew 2,203.
"It was an awesome course," said the 45-year-old Padilla, who had flown from Phoenixville, Pa., on Wednesday. "It is flat and fun. That bridge on the water is one of a kind."
Although serious runners were participating, the emphasis was on fun. Sarasota's Keith Page was the first runner to finish wearing a turkey hat, and many of the runners sported Thanksgiving garb.
"There were so many people today," said Page, who ran in the race's debut last year. "This is such a nice venue."
Was it hard to run with that big turkey hat on his head?
"It was no picnic," he said after finishing in just under 20 minutes. "It was slower with the turkey hat."