Thousands hit the ground running for annual Turkey Trot in SouthPark

CHARLOTTE — The pop of the first champagne bottle started the 34th annual Turkey Trot for thousands of runners in Charlotte on Thanksgiving morning.

Listed as one of the 30 Best Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trots, according to America and AAA’s best runs in the Carolinas‘, the Charlotte Turkey Trot includes events like an 8K run, 5K run/walk, One-Mile fun run and a Kid’s Tot Trot.

One runner, Emily Bullard, finished the New York City marathon earlier this month and admitted to leaving her husband in the dust during the race.

“I gave him a quick kiss and then I was off,” Bullard said.

While the first runners of the day receive a medal, back in the parking lot tailgaters like Peter Nilson kick off the holiday with his famous Bloody Mary and his eight-year-long tailgating tradition.

“She wants to run and I didn’t wanna wake up, so this is the compromise,” said Nilson.

Nilson and his wife, Rachel, are now sharing their Turkey Trot tradition with their son, Henrick, who stood out from the crowds of turkeys by wearing a cow costume.

For its second year in person, since the pandemic, the Charlotte Turkey Trot announced its first-ever title sponsor is CPI Security. CEO and founder Ken Gill said he and the company are honored to continue a Charlotte legacy.

“It’s been a family tradition of ours to participate in the Charlotte Turkey Trot every Thanksgiving, which makes it even more exciting for CPI Security to be the title sponsor of this iconic race,” Gill said. “We’re honored to help continue the legacy the Charlotte Turkey Trot has built, and we hope other families join us in celebrating and giving back to the place we call home.”

Families, pets and children crowded the finish line to cheer on their runners.

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Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.