PARKERSBURG - Nearly 2,800 people braved the cold to participate in the 33rd annual Turkey Trot, making it a record-breaking year for the event.
Joe Corra, event organizer and president of the River City Runners and Walkers Club, said the race has become a family tradition for many, bringing people from all over the United States.
"We have people here from more than 20 states, from California, Florida and all up and down the east coast," said Corra. "It seems to grow every year, no matter what the weather is like."
By 8:30 a.m., around 2,500 people had already registered at City Park.
"It's just a great time. We are all about getting people outdoors to do something healthy," said Corra.
About two dozen volunteers with the Humane Society of Parkersburg walked dogs which were up for adoption.
First-time volunteer Colleen Murphy walked a rescue dog named Promise.
"Bringing them out to the race helps socialize them, and I think being here really raises awareness about the humane society and what we do for the community," said Murphy.
For many, the Turkey Trot is a family tradition.
Doug Hornbeck, of Parkersburg, walked the trot with his wife and daughter.
"This is our third race. It's great to see old friends and family here" he said. "We hope to make it a tradition for many years to come. Plus, the more we walk, the more we can eat later."
Lisa Reynolds came from Pennsylvania to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"I'll feel less guilty about sitting around all day watching football and eating mashed potatoes," she said. "It's a unique activity. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to get up so early on such a cold day, but now that I'm out here, I'm so glad I got out of bed."
Reynolds said she was amazed at the turnout.
"It's festive. Everyone is talking and excited," she said. "What a well-run event."
Jennifer Deem, owner of Marietta Boot Camp, walked the trot with a friend.
"The city has a great event going here," she said. You've got people of all ages-babies, kids, parents, grandparents. It's a very social atmosphere."
Finishing in first place Thursday was 21-year-old Tyler Cantley, with a time of 15:07. Cantley is a graduate of Warren High School and is attending Ohio University.
This was his fifth year participating in the trot, and his second time winning the race.
"I love to run and compete, but it's so much fun to come back here and see all those guys I used to run with in high school," said Cantley. "I'll keep coming back every year."