It’s an inaugural race, but already the Wiregrass Wobble Turkey Trot at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel is expected to draw as many as 1,300 runners.
The race already had registered 991 runners by Nov. 21, said race director Brian Brink. He expects as many as 20 percent of the race’s participants to register on race day, which is on Thanksgiving.
The 5-kilometer event, which is a walk or run event, begins at 7:30 a.m., and the one-mile fun run and walk begins at 8:15 a.m.
So far, runners from 30 states have signed up, said Brink, who is general manager for Fitniche at The Shops at Wiregrass. The oldest runner registered so far is 83. He thinks the youngest in the one-mile fun run and walk will be about 3.
Fitniche is putting on the race, in conjunction with the New Tampa Rotary and the New Tampa YMCA. Besides giving runners a new race, the event is raising money for Feeding America Tampa Bay and the New Tampa YMCA.
The inspiration for the Wiregrass Wobble came from a running group established by Brink that regularly runs on Thursday nights at The Shops, located at 28211 Paseo Drive.
Last year, members from the group decided to run on Thanksgiving morning and Brink put out the word about a week before the holiday. Much to his surprise, about 150 people showed up.
Brink figured if that many people turned out with just a week’s notice, the event could draw substantially more runners with more lead time. When planning began, Brink predicted there would be at least 1,000 runners. Now, he’s upped that projection to 1,300.
The route of the Wiregrass Wobble’s 5k will go around the mall and Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, ending at the top of the mall’s parking garage.
Runners can register on race day. It costs $25 for the 5k and $20 for the one-miler.
Parking will be available in mall parking lots near State Road 56 and lots off of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The parking garage and areas nearby, however, will be closed off for the race, Brink said.