15-year-old cross country runner Mati DeSpain of Thatcher cruises to victory in the seventh annual Pima Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The event is a fund-raiser for the Pima School District.

While some people find it hard to even move after gorging on a Thanksgiving feast, those who gathered in Pima on Thursday can at least say they got in some exercise beforehand.

A record 679 runners participated in the seventh annual Pima Turkey Trot at the Vard Lines Roping Arena in Pima on Thanksgiving.

Race directors Cody Marshall and Melinda Nelson first started the 5K (3.1-mile) race and One-Mile Fun Run as a lark. The following year, however, they decided to solicit sponsors, and the number of participants has grown exponentially each year.

The race benefits the Pima School District, which is given all the proceeds. Last year, the district was given $6,700 raised through sponsors and 549 racers. The amount raised this year has not been confirmed as of press time.

The event has become a family tradition with numerous multi-generational entrants. Some parents even brought out the jogging strollers and hauled around the little ones as they raced the cross country course.

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"We want to thank all of our participants for coming out on a busy Thanksgiving Day," Nelson said. "We want to make it a fun, family tradition race so keep coming, and we just thank you for making it such a fun Thanksgiving Day."

Top male and female runners took home $50 cash prizes, and the event wasn't complete until organizers gave away a turkey to the family with the most participants. Also highly-anticipated was the annual raffle filled with goodies from local vendors.

Mati Despain, 15, of Thatcher took home overall honors with a time of 18:01, and Ellen Wheeler was the first overall female finisher with a time of 20.38.

This year, timing was performed utilizing small radio-frequency identification tags  attached to the racers shoelaces. The hardware for the timing was purchased from money donated by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.

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