Runners dash at the start of the Elk Grove Gobble Wobble's 5k race on Nov. 24. 

More than 1,300 people walked, jogged or ran in this year’s Elk Grove Gobble Wobble race on Thanksgiving Day morning. The race started at Longleaf Drive in Laguna. 

In its sixth year in a row, local nonprofit Chicks in Crisis sponsored this annual event with additional sponsors from Sky River Casino, Sunshine Swim Center, Total Sculpting and Select Physical Therapy. As usual, the race started with children doing the quarter-mile Kids Run before the 5K starts.

To also help prepare the runners, a Zumba team danced and local singer Carly Rhoades sang the National Anthem.

Inez Whitlow, chief executive officer, co-director and self-proclaimed “Chick in Charge” of Chicks in Crisis, said that the number of runners had exceeded from the previous year, 2021. Whitlow said that out of three fundraisers she organizes in the year, the Gobble Wobble is the biggest one of them all. Her organization assists young mothers and their families.

The funds raised from the race supported a mobile unit the organization had put together. Whitlow noted that the mobile unit would be able to go to more people who lack transportation and have a difficult time traveling to the organization’s Elk Grove office.

“We are so appreciative and grateful for the community of Elk Grove because without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Whitlow said.

Chicks in Crisis co-director Marya Cooley said the number of runners increased by 20% since last year and this was “their largest year yet.” The organization had raised $110,000, which was $30,000 more than the previous year.

“We’re all about families crossing the finish line, which is why we have our races for babies,” Cooley said. “Just like today, we want to get our runners across the finish line.”

Jay Chew, a 19-year-old Willamette University student, won first place and clocked in at 15:25, according to the race results on It’s Your Race. Chew noted that it was also his birthday and was proud of his accomplishment.

“I am currently coming off a cross-country season,” Chew said. “I go to a small liberal arts college in Salem, Ore., and I just finished up my freshman cross country season two weeks ago. So I’m just getting back into the swing of things again to keep myself fresh to prepare for track in the spring.”

Eighteen-year-old Sacramento State student Kaili Seto, who is also a member of the university’s rowing team, said that despite taking part in other races, she felt “out of shape” for the Gobble Wobble. She noted she did cross-country and track for many years and was also on Elk Grove High School’s track team.

Ryan Jenner of Elk Grove said that he didn’t train much for this race as he and his family were getting over a sickness and were in recovery while racing. Although he was a couple of minutes behind, Jenner said he ran the whole race and that he felt he did better at this year’s “Run for Hunger.” Jenner said that the Gobble Wobble from 2021 was his first 5K.

“Come out of COVID, I was concerned for my health,” Jenner said. “I gained a lot of weight in that time and then I started training and lost 40 pounds during my training for my first 5K last year.”

Jarrett Simpson of Elk Grove said he did better in the race than he initially thought he was going to do. He said he ran casually and mainly took part in this to propose to his girlfriend.

“I feel like this is my comeback race,” Simpson said. “I was off for three years, but I think starting today I will be racing throughout the year again.”