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Originally published: 2012-11-15 17:45:00
Last modified: 2012-11-15 17:45:00

Turkey Trot 5K, holiday card to support Hospitality House

by Anna Oakes

For the second consecutive year, the High Country Turkey Trot will take place Thanksgiving morning on the Boone Greenway Trail at the Clawson-Burnley Park entrance.

The competitive 5K timed run will kick off at 9 a.m. with casual runners, joggers and walkers immediately following. Hearts of Hospitality, the ambassador group for Hospitality House, organizes the event with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting men, women and children living in crisis, poverty and homelessness.

Registration is $25 for adults and teens and $5 for kids 12 and under. 

Last year's inaugural event was a success with participants from nine different states and 20 North Carolina cities raising $14,000 and collecting 800 pounds of food. The High Country Turkey Trot is modeled after Turkey Trot events nationwide that raise awareness, food and funds for those who are hungry and in need.

"We are excited to be back for a second year with a bigger, better Turkey Trot right here in the High Country," said Hearts of Hospitality President Emily Stallings. "We are both improving and expanding the Turkey Trot in order to position it as a Thanksgiving Day tradition."

This year's Turkey Trot, sponsored by Deep Gap Ruritan, Boone Dermatology, Boone Pediatric Dentistry, Bridgeman Dental, Pet Prairie Dog Retreat, Mountain City Alternative Health, Pepper's and Casa Rustica, will feature live music, raffle prizes and healthy snacks from Earth Fare, bagels from Mountain Bagels and hot apple cider courtesy of Dougherty Realty.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place for men and women competing in the 5K timed run.

Participants are encouraged to dress up and bring non-perishable food items for donation. Everyone is welcome, including families with children, strollers and pets on a leash.

Adult and teen registration includes a commemorative long sleeve t-shirt while kids registration includes a Turkey Trot sticker. Onsite registration will be available beginning at 7:30 a.m.; however, preregistration is required to guarantee a commemorative t-shirt. Onsite registration t-shirts are first come, first serve. High Country Host preregistration packets are available for pickup at Hospitality House beginning Monday, Nov. 19.

Preregister online at Registration forms can also be picked up at Earth Fare, Mast General Store, Watauga High School, Peppers, Parkway School, Higher Grounds, Watauga Sheriff's Department, Broyhill Wellness Center as well as Mountain Outfitters and Bohemia in West Jefferson.

Holiday Honor Cards Available

Holiday Honor Cards designed by North Carolina artist William Mangum are available for a minimum donation of $5 per card at and at Ashe, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes county business and church locations.

This year's Honor Card, featuring a Mangum painting called "The Climb," is dedicated to homeless veterans. All proceeds go toward providing services at the Hospitality House, a homeless shelter and crisis agency that serves seven counties in northwestern North Carolina.

"I'm thankful for agencies like Hospitality House that help our veterans cope with the deep wounds that have scarred them and help bring them out of the depths of despair, giving them a hand up with encouragement and hope," Mangum said.

Since 2001, more than 2 million soldiers have valiantly served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On their return home, many soldiers have had to face challenges that they were not ready to experience including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), countless injuries from combat, weakened family ties and unprecedented unemployment rates higher than the national average.

Today, veterans are one of the largest segments of the homelessness community in the country.

In 1988, Mangum was asked to lend his artistic and publishing assistance to Greensboro Urban Ministry's struggling fundraiser, the Honor Card program. As the Honor Card program reaches its 25th anniversary, over $4 million has been raised to support homeless agencies in cities across North Carolina.

For more information about The Honor Card, call (828) 264-1237 or (