In 1983, Dan Gibbons was listening to a radio talk show highlighting the large number of people going to bed hungry every night. Moved to action, Dan got involved with Schwartz’s Good Neighbor Food Drive. Dan and a group of friends decided they could do more and decided to try a 5k race, as these types of events were becoming popular fund raising tools. Since Gibbons had the most time to devote to the project, it was named after him.
So the very first Turkey Trot happened on Thanksgiving Day, 1984. With hand written numbers and a race that was just a little over 2.5 miles, Gibbons used his car’s odometer to lay out the course. With just 74 participants and no sponsors, the first effort raised $520, which was given to Schwartz at the 2nd annual Good Neighbor Food Drive.
The following September, Gibbons was asked if he was going to do the trot again. Gibbons said they needed sponsors to make it happen and before he kniew it, the first $250 sponsorship came from the Elmhurst Police Benevolent Athletic Association.
The subsequent trots were exponentially more successful, with the number of runners increasing from 74 to 232 the next year to 407 runners in the third and 636 in the fourth. In 2013, the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot had 8,685 runners and this year has over 50 sponsors, including LW Reedy. As in the past, LW Reedy is hosting a watch party, complete with a DJ and hot beverages. Everyone is welcome to stop in and enjoy the fun.
The Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot has raised over $2.65 million and keeps all proceeds within DuPage Country. This money has supported many organizations including DuPage Pads, United Community Concerns Association, People’s Resource Center, West Suburban Community Pantry, Loaves & Fishes, and Catholic Charities. In addition to the financial good the trot provides, the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot gives families an event that perfectly illustrates the true spirit of Thanksgiving.