ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It's a Thanksgiving morning tradition for many people in the Tampa Bay area, and around the country — turkey trots!

  • Coffee Pot Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning tradition
  • The 5K benefits North Shore Elementary in St. Pete
  • Check out our Thanksgiving Guide

Of course, it’s a chance to burn off some calories before a big meal, but there's something more for a St. Petersburg neighborhood race.

Spectrum News reporter Virginia Johnson laced up her shoes for the Coffee Pot Turkey Trot.

The 5K started at 7:45 a.m. sharp, but Virginia almost didn’t make it to the start, thanks to some wardrobe confusion. Apparently, Santa costumes are frowned upon at the turkey trot.

Virginia was able to make amends after the racing fowl, and returned in a Tukey ensemble, from snood to wattles to wings to turkey toes.

And she wasn’t the only one. In addition to turkeys, there were pilgrims, pies and even a chef.

So what makes people dress up, come out, and run a 5k on a Thanksgiving morning, besides the calorie burning benefits?


This growing race benefits the neighborhood school North Shore Elementary.

It’s the perfect early support opportunity for the Razook family.

Parents Lauren and Ryan are taking part in the race, with mom Lauren pushing 21-month old Everitt in a stroller and dad Ryan holding swaddled and capped 3-week-old Holden.

"I think it's so important. It brings people to a community,” Lauren said about her support of neighborhood schools. “Everyone moves somewhere for a school, so the better the school, the happier the community.”

This race is the PTA’s biggest fundraiser. The proceeds go toward after school enrichment.

"We offer all kinds of opportunities from Spanish to yoga, to music, (and) chess club,” said Amber Brinkley, race organizer and North Shore mom.

Brinkley credits increased community and parental involvement, starting with the Friends of North Shore group, for changing the school's grade ranking.

"It has gone from a D to a B, which is a wonderful shift, but the school itself was already wonderful, explained Brinkley. “There's a wonderful teaching community and a lot of longevity at North Shore, and it's a very small school, so you feel nurtured, and so do your children."

It’s a shift that other communities are looking to for their children.

Members of the Friends of North Shore tell us other communities are reaching out to mirror their efforts.