It’s a race for runners and non-runners. It’s a first 5K for many. It’s a family tradition.
Russ Redd attended the Wake County Boys & Girls Clubs in the 1980s, he worked at the Wake Forest Club in the 1990s, and he served on the Club’s Unit Board in the 2000s. It was while serving on the Board that the idea to fundraise through a 5K was presented. The idea floated around the table, but no one ran with it. Russ took the idea home to his wife, Cat, and she decided to make it happen! She has been the motivation behind Gobbler’s Run ever since.
Cat sought out the help of an avid race runner, and mutual friend, Kim Fordham, who added an invaluable insight into race organization. And with that Gobbler’s Run was literally off and running!
The Thanksgiving Day idea was met with some skepticism, but in the end it won the bet. Kim owned the process of figuring out the bibs and the timing mechanism, Russ headed up sponsorship and donations, and Cat got the course approved and the word out.
A large nearby neighborhood that was establishing its own Thanksgiving Day run and expecting about 50 people to participate? It's safe to say that the directors were sure that Gobbler’s Run would be a flop. But, 314 people showed up the morning of the race, blowing away the goal of 100 racers!!!
In the second year, Gobbler’s Run had 716 participants. They ran out of bibs and t-shirts, yet people were still walking into the Club, handing over $20, and heading back out the door to join the crowd. It was heartwarming!
Today, the race attracts over 2,000 participants each year and has generated over $470,000 for the Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club!