Of the nearly 20,000 participants in the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, there is one special group that is especially close to our hearts. The Caritas of Austin team, consisting of ten clients and several staff members, has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition we look forward to each year.
Tanya Greenough, Food Services Program Manager, organizes the team – now in its seventh year. Greenough says the clients’ enthusiasm is what keeps her motivated to do it. “For some of these folks, it’s on their calendar. They get really excited for it and it’s a tradition for them,” she says.
Most of the group members have participated for several years now, including Permanent Supportive Housing client, Chris. He will be walking the 5-mile course for the fourth time this Thanksgiving. He first heard about the Trot from his case manager, Maya, and says it’s something he looks forward to doing with the other clients. “It’s a way to do something together, just for fun,” he says.
Part of what makes it so fun is the chance to see thousands of Austinites unite at the Long Center in support of Caritas of Austin. When asked about his first year, Chris says, “it was getting up a little early for me, but seeing how many people were down there really impressed me. I saw what 20,000 people looked like. I noticed the families more than anything else. A lot of different types of groups, a lot of fathers with their kids.”
Like many of the Trot participants, the Caritas team meets up at the Long Center on Thanksgiving morning before the race to take a group photo and make their way to the starting line. Some will run five miles at a competitive pace, while others prefer to walk and simply enjoy the sense of community. For the first time, this year the Caritas team also includes a mother who is participating with her two children. Case managers enjoy supporting the team, helping to make sure their clients have a ride to the Long Center. In past years, material support with running shoes and clothes has come from an individual or business. This year, we are still looking for a sponsor to help cover these costs.
For anyone who is new to the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, Chris has some words of encouragement. “If you’re looking for something fun to do that day, come on down! It’s a community day and a family day,” he says. “Everyone is friendly and happy to be outside and have a good time.” And what are Chris’ post-Trot traditions? “Visit family, enjoy a meal, and watch football!”
Will we see you at the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot this year? You can learn more about running, walking, or volunteering HERE!