The Troy community comes together each year on Thanksgiving morning for the Mighty Gobbler 5K. The event helps support local nonprofits throughout the city.

The Troy community comes together each year on Thanksgiving morning for the Mighty Gobbler 5K. The event helps support local nonprofits throughout the city.

Photo provided by Paul Walters


Mighty Gobbler 5K returns to Troy

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published November 10, 2021

 The Mighty Gobbler is a chance for Troy-area residents to get into the holiday spirit and maybe get a little wacky as a way to kick off the holiday season.

The Mighty Gobbler is a chance for Troy-area residents to get into the holiday spirit and maybe get a little wacky as a way to kick off the holiday season.

Photo provided by Paul Walters

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TROY — The Mighty Gobbler 5K run/walk is returning to Troy after being virtual in 2020.

Organized by Lutheran Church of the Master in Troy, the event has become a new tradition for many in the Troy area, taking place the morning of Thanksgiving and benefitting several local charities.

“This is the seventh year of the race. The congregation wanted to give a gift to the community and be able to support charities in the community,” said Paul Walters, the church pastor and race director. “The first year we had 250 runners, and in 2019 we had 750. Thanksgiving is one of the most popular days across the country to have runs, and we wanted to offer a chance to be a part of that here in Troy.”

The walk will take place beginning at 8:30 a.m., and the run will kick off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 25, starting and ending at Lutheran Church of the Master, 3333 Coolidge Highway. Preregistration is available at a cost of $32 for the 5K course and $27 for the 1-mile course. Fees increase by $5 after Nov. 22 until the day of the race. Participants are encouraged to bring canned goods to help stock the food pantry at Troy People Concerned.

“We now have eight 6-foot-tall inflatable turkeys at the finish line,” said Walters. “We have two events, a 1-mile walk/run and a chip timed 5K course. We have every level of runner, from people with strollers to people who will be competing for first place $100 for the overall top men’s and women’s finishers. It starts and finishes in the parking lot at 16 Mile Road and Coolidge. It winds through the neighborhood north of the church.”

Those interested can register or find more information by visiting www.mightygobbler.com or calling (248) 643-0176.

“I like that it is very close to our community and right in our backyard. It brings the community together, and the benefits go into this local community,” remarked Kathy Desmond Barr, of A.J. Desmond and Sons, the event’s primary sponsor. “Not only are we a sponsor, but we also have employees and their families participating and helping with registration, with the course and with the food drive.”

Barr said the Mighty Gobbler is a great way to bring the community together and be festive for the holiday.

“We have sponsored them for the last three or four years,” she said. “I have taken part as a participant and a volunteer. I love watching the people and how they dress up in their costumes. You see turkey hats and tutus that they run it in. It’s a happy event and very fun. The more people who participate, the more fun it is.”

Some of the sponsors also have provided prizes that will be raffled off after the run concludes.

“Everybody gets a finisher medal and a T-shirt for both events,” said Walters. “We also have a diamond bracelet donated by M.J. Diamonds that we raffle off. We also have some other prizes included in the raffle given by local businesses. For every can of food you donate, you get a raffle ticket.”

The canned food is just one of the ways the race supports those in need in the Troy community.

“We’ve given away more than $30,000 to local charities since the beginning,” Walters said. “This year we are supporting the Micah 6 Community, Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, and a canned food drive for Troy People Concerned. … This is not a money-maker for the church itself; the only money we keep is what we invest into next year’s race.”

Walters said that they are glad to be hosting a traditional run/walk again. In 2020, they hosted a virtual run/walk where people took part separately, running or walking along on their own selected path.

“It was virtual last year, but we mostly wanted to be able to say we did it,” he remarked. “We only had 150 people taking part, but we’re glad we did it. We were still able to help some people, even though everyone was pretty strung out last year.”

The organizers are hoping the community comes together once again for the Mighty Gobbler, noting how much good it does for people and what a fun way it is to kick off the holiday.

“I think it brings an awareness that there is a need in this community, and it raises money for those people in need,” said Barr. “The canned goods they collect really add up quickly. It also promotes a healthy lifestyle, which is especially important on a day in which we usually overindulge.”

“This is a wonderful family event that’s easy to join in and find easy parking,” added Walters. “You can start it at 9 a.m. and get home with plenty of time to get that Thanksgiving dinner ready. It’s a good socially distanced event that is safe in the time of COVID. I love it. Everyone is smiling the entire time.”

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