Unusually warm weather made possible a record participation in the annual Turkey Trot of Spokane in Manito Park.
The event, organized by Bloomsday Runners Club, is the largest annual fundraiser for the Second Harvest food bank. Volunteers collect cash and food donations at the site while serious runners, friends, families and dogs run or walk through the park.
After running the Turkey Trot solo last year, Vanessa Johnson convinced her boyfriend, Cody Templeton, to run with her on Thursday morning.
Templeton had only one condition: the couple would have to wear turkey costumes from head to toe.
He opted for a brown suit made of a material similar to felt, with a turkey head that covers halfway between a hat and a balaclava. On his back, a series of brightly colored feathers were attached through elastic bands around his arms.
Johnson opted for a simpler design: an orange spandex jumpsuit with a turkey mask covering his face.
"We tried to cut a hole in the mouth to breathe a little," Templeton said.
The race has no finish line, there are no times and few rules. Many decide to walk along the route and people stop frequently to greet their friends or take a break.
Curt Kinghorm, the race announcer, set the tone when riders migrated to the starting line near the duck pond just before 9 a.m.
"The exact distance of today's race is the exact distance you decide to run!", Announced through the speakers. The runners could opt for a single loop of just under two miles (Kingston encouraged to approach), or continue for a course of three or five miles.
"Cheating is not only tolerated, it is encouraged," he said.  A group of five women with tutus met at picnic tables before the race began. All were members of the Flying Irish Running Club, a local group with some 2,500 members that meets for weekly races, followed by beer and bad Irish jokes.
"After six races, you have to go on stage to tell a joke," said Amina Giles. Being Irish is not a requirement to join.
Giles wore a tutu with pink, blue and purple stripes. His companion, Mary Naber, had a colorful orange and yellow tutu.
The group often makes thematic costumes to run and decided tutus because most members already had them. Although Giles said that did not stop him from going shopping for the Turkey Trot.
"I discovered that I was no longer a child of size 6," he laughed.
Just before 9:15 a. M., the first group of runners began to make their way around the duck pond in the second cycle. The first finalists were dressed in sports clothes, but some suits ended quickly, including another full-body turkey outfit and a panda.
Temperatures hovered around 50 degrees as predicted, and possible rain predicted earlier in the week did not appear.
"I do not remember having been so warm," said Jackie VanAllen, Turkey Trot director of the Bloomsday Road Runners Club.
Last year, the trot raised around $ 6,700 per second. Harvest and bring in just under 7,000 pounds of food. Volunteers working in food containers were optimistic about reaching similar figures for 2017.
Kinghorn has been announcing the race for approximately 30 years. He said that starting Thanksgiving with a little fun and a little generosity makes it worthwhile.
"This is the best event that has ever taken place in this city," he said.