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Ellsworth church's Thanksgiving day Gobbler Gallop coming up

Members of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Ellsworth (from left) Roxi Birkel, Linette Greske, Kathy Fuchs, Betty Freier and Jacob Fuchs organized walkers and runners during the 2017 fifth annual Gobbler's Gallop in Ellsworth Thanksgiving morning. File photo

Race organizers aren't sure how many years old the annual Thanksgiving day Gobbler Gallop in Ellsworth is, but they're pretty sure it's five.

"We were talking last night and we weren't sure. It might be the fifth or the sixth." said a laughing Kathy Fuchs, a member of St. Paul's United Church of Christ and a race organizer, over the phone.

The annual 5K race, or walk if you prefer, is put on by the Ellsworth-area church's youth group on Thanksgiving morning every year. Originally its profits were used to help fund the church's mission trips, but a smaller youth group last year and this year left the $2,000 in registration fees to be donated entirely to the Pierce County food shelf, she said.

Typically the race draws in anywhere from 105 to 185 people, and runners get a T-shirt as part of their registration fee, she said.

Outside of paying for runner's T-shirts, the race doesn't cost anything to put on. Nilssen's Foods donates coffee, and the church makes snacks, Fuchs said.

The race isn't too serious either: cheerleaders direct the runners, there isn't an official race clock — though they informally track times and announce it when a runner finishes, Fuchs said.

"It's a fun vibe, we get a lot of kids in strollers," she said. "We're probably the most casual 5K you're going to run."

Despite that, the good it brings is, well, good — and there is some competition.

Now that runners know the funding goes to the food pantry, Fuchs said many eschew the T-shirt and ask for their fee to go straight to the food bank.

The race draws in a wide range of runners and ages, she said, and often a local cross country runner and an older man duke it out for first place.

The 5K race is at 8 a.m. Nov. 22 beginning at Nilssen's Foods / True Value. Entry fee is $20 per person or $50 per family max. Registration by Nov. 13 guarantees a custom-design T-shirt. Register online.