Joco Sports

Thanksgiving Day 5K in Overland Park is a holiday tradition for many families

Thursday is Thanksgiving, a day to be thankful for what we have and a time for the family, turkey and pumpkin pie.

But that won’t be the plan for everyone in Johnson County.

Early Thursday morning, area enthusiasts will gather on the Sprint Campus north of 119th Street between Nall and Glenwood in Overland Park to participate in the 24th Annual Thanksgiving Day 5K and Family Stroll.

The race starts at 9 a.m., and runners can enter on Thursday and try to set a Guinness Book of World Records mark for most participants in a Thanksgiving Day run.

Kyla and Josh Christie of Leawood will be running, along with their three kids: Avery, 6; Bennett, 5, and Emlyn, 2.

“We will all run in the 5K, and then the kids will run in the kids’ race afterward,” Kyla said. “We’ve been running in the Thanksgiving race since my son was only a few months old.

“It is a great tradition. We love to get up early, get outside, get some exercise and have fun together.”

Both Kyla and Josh are distance runners.

“We didn’t need to specifically train for this race,” Kyla said. “We will run/walk most of the race. It depends on how the kids are behaving that day. We don’t take it too serious.”

Another Leawood couple, Mike and Becky Conaghan, will have a large group at the race.

The couple, along with their three sons, Joe, 23, and his fiancee; Ben, 22, and his girlfriend, and Matt, 18, will be running. There will also be several nieces and nephews running.

“Our team of 15 is called The Cranberries — healthy, slightly mushy, sweet but tangy,” Mike said.

“We have several runners in the family, and we thought it would be a good way to start off Thanksgiving morning,” Mike added. “Most of us had a tough decision to make between sleeping in versus getting up and running. I think the incentive to running was not feeling guilty about consuming all the carbs and calories later in the day.”

Mike noted that there will be family tailgate party after the run. He said he is very thankful for his family’s health.

“How blessed we are to be healthy enough to run,” Mike said. “I had a nephew pass away of muscular dystrophy a few years ago, and every time I run, I think of him.”

Megan Mansfield of Overland Park has run in the Thanksgiving Day 5K 12 times.

“I really love to see people of so many different ages, shapes and sizes come out. It is a beautiful sight,” she said. “It has become a family tradition, which has allowed lots of people who don’t typically participate in races to come out and enjoy the fun.”

Her dad is 74 and has been running for several years, and she has a cousin from Toronto coming in to run for the first time.