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The Fresno Turkey Trot was started in 1999 by Shawn Young and Michael Sanchez, after they started Sierra Running Co, now Fleet Feet. Their goal was to use the 5k course used by the state meet on the Sat following Thanksgiving.
In 2004 Shawn moved to DC area and asked John Volkman to be race director. He was race director from 2004-2017. One of the new traditions that Shawn started was to give out socks instead of t-shirts which John thought was a great idea and continued it throughout the years. They started with orange on white and then black socks one year. John got TNT involved and used the purple/green theme. Then we went to a blue on yellow theme. The race had a few hundred people when John took over and the club increased that number to over 2000.
Another goal of the race was to raise money to provide turkey meals to families and to give scholarship money to local runners going to college. We also had a tradition of having a costume contest with prizes for the best costumes and prizes to the largest groups.
Jose Campos won it in 2014. CJ Albertson won the race in 2015 when he was at ASU. He won again in 2016. His future wife, Chelsea also won it that year.
Sierra Challenge Express has continued to operate the Fresno Turkey Trot since John Volkman retired. With numbers aproaching 3500 before COVID and 2500 each year for the past two years raising significant funds to feed the hungry during this holiday season and supporting our High School Cross Country athletes.