Around 4,500 people participated in the 35th Annual Harry Sutter Memorial Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Fun Run in Torrance Thursday in costumes ranging from turkeys to pilgrims.
In addition to the 4,500 runners or walkers, there were about 4,000 individuals who came to watch the run that began at 8 a.m.
Forrest Hunt, who has been the director since the run began, said that the event is more than just a run to him.
“I call it a family and friends reunion,” Hunt said. “People come every year to see their friends, to walk with them or to run with them and just sort of catch up on things that happened over the course of the year.”
Carrie Fisher-Pascual said she and her family have participated in the Torrance Turkey Trot for about eight years now.
“It’s just a great way for the family to start the day,” Fisher-Pascual explained. “Usually, my in-laws come down as well so the whole family comes and participates.”
Her son, Isaiah Pascual, 10, said he came out to the turkey trot to run with his friends from church, but he said he had another reason for participating in the run.
“My grandpa bought a new hat for me a few weeks ago for this turkey trot, and I wanted to wear it today,” Pascual said.
Steve Mozena, 54, has lived in Torrance for over 25 years, and this year was his first year participating in the run.
“I think it’s a kind of healthy thing to do before thanksgiving,” Mozena said. “I figured why not come down here and get kind of in shape before we eat that big meal later this afternoon.”
The idea to have a family fun run on Thanksgiving came from the man to whom the race is dedicated: Harry Sutter, Hunt said. Sutter wanted to have the race to give people the opportunity to exercise before they ate a Thanksgiving feast. However, Sutter died from a brain tumor before being able to bring his idea to fruition.
“So the next year I went to race director school, and we began the run in his honor,” Hunt said.
When the race began in 1979, Hunt said there were about 300 participants. On Thursday, the race drew nearly 15 times more participants than in its first year.
After Thursday’s race, there was the “spectacular post run drawing,” where participants had the chance to win about 150 prizes, including ten mountain bikes, about 75 $50 dinner for two certificates to local restaurants, sunglasses and more.
Hunt said that he thinks people enjoy the run not just for the exercise, but "because of the camaraderie that comes with the event and the spectacular prize drawing afterwards.”
The Torrance Turkey Trot was one of at least 8 turkey trots in L.A. County and one of at least 24 in Southern California, according to LARaces.com's calendar of events.