What better way is there to give thanks than to go the distance, then to help the community on Thanksgiving morning during Elk Grove’s annual Gobble Wobble?
Roughly 1,600 runners came out on the frigid morning of Nov. 28 to join the fundraiser that benefits Chicks in Crisis, a local nonprofit that supports young mothers and their families.
For the third year in a row, Chicks in Crisis sponsored the race. Executive director and self-proclaimed “Chick in Charge” Inez Whitlow believed that this had been “the best year so far,” saying it was more organized and had a better team involved.
Participation increased by 400 runners compared to last year, which had lower attendance because of thick smoke from the Camp Fire burning in Butte County at the time.
Whitlow noted that Chicks in Crisis supports mothers and fathers by helping them maintain their family size and providing them with diapers, wipes and other baby essentials. The goal is to help keep them in high school, college or trade school.
“I thank everybody for coming out to help me save babies,” Whitlow said. “It’s a huge blessing and huge honor to have so many people support us.”
Adrian Gutierrez, a 16-year-old junior at Elk Grove High School, won first place in the men’s 5K, coming in at 17 minutes and 19 seconds.
Eden David won the 5K in the women’s division. The 10K winners were mother and son Traci and Noah Seto.
Gutierrez noted that he had taken part in a handful of races and also had been training for this particular race since August. He said cross-country is his main sport, and after the season ended, he decided to run to keep things fresh. The other race that he took part in this year was the Run 4 Hunger in June, where he came in at fourth place.
The fourth-place victory went to Marcellus Jones, who is currently a student at Maryville University in Missouri. A member of the university’s track team, he, too, took part in the race to keep up his training.
“I’ve been training since October, so this was just another day of running,” Jones said.
For Jessica Vettel of Wilton, the event is usually something that she does with her family. Since her children were unavailable to take part, she ran with her sister.
Vettel said that she did better than she initially thought she would because she “did not train very well.” With a background in track, as well as that morning being cold, she believed that what made her keep going was the “adrenaline kicking in” and that she thrives on racing other people.