San Jose

SV Turkey Trot Kicks Off For 11th Year, Raised More Than $5M For Charity

"We got our turkey in the oven. And the pumpkin pie is made. We're ready to run," a Turkey Trot runner said.

As has been the annual tradition for 11 years, the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot kicked off on Thursday in San Jose with a lot of whoops, cheers and a backwards countdown from 10.

The young, the old and all ages in between showed up early on Thanksgiving to run or walk in downtown San Jose and raise money for charity.

"We're really excited," Jennifer Fort of Los Gatos said, who dressed in Christmas gear like the rest of her family who came out with her. "We got our turkey in the oven. And the pumpkin pie is made. We're ready to run."

The trot was the brainstorm of Carl and Leslee Guardino, who heard a radio report in 2004 about 20,000 people running in downtown Sacramento and raising money for charity, according to the group’s website. Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Ironman Triathlete, turned to Leslee and said, “Somebody ought to do a race like that here.” She turned to him and said, “Maybe that somebody should be us.”

In the first year, organizers say the event drew 1,900 participants and cleared $132,000 for three charities.

Last year, organizers said there were more than 26,405 registrants, and the event cleared $936,000 for charity. In all, the event has donated more than $5 million.

The event is sponsored by Applied Materials, and is run by volunteers from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Central Labor Council, city of San Jose, Santa Clara County and others to benefit five charities.

NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang and Alan Waples contributed to this report.

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