Wishbone 5K a Thanksgiving tradition, year after year for many

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November and take part in traditions passed from generation to generation. The aroma of pumpkin pie baking, preparing Grandma’s homemade dressing, turkey leftovers, the Thanksgiving parade and football rivalries on TV all make for wonderful memories. Traditions connect our families and early childhood memories of gathering together and taking time to count blessings are what Thanksgiving is all about.

Make a wish!

Some families include breaking the turkey’s wishbone as part of their festivities. After the wishbone has had a chance to become dry and brittle, two family members each take one end of the bone, make a wish, and pull. Whoever ends up with the larger part of the bone gets their wish! The Wishbone 5K pays tribute to this fun, family tradition, with an early-morning gathering on Thanksgiving at the Fishers YMCA.

More than $200,000 raised

Since the race began in 2011, more than 9,000 runners and walkers have participated in the 5K, Senior Stroll and Kiddie Fun Run to raise nearly $210,000 for the Fishers YMCA. The Wishbone is the Fishers YMCA’s signature event for the Annual Campaign, which helps subsidize memberships, programs, summer camp and before/after school care. Every penny of the proceeds goes back to our community to ensure that no one is sent away from the YMCA due to the inability to pay.

Traditions of giving back

As the 155th celebration of Thanksgiving approaches, a few local families share about one of their favorite traditions, the Wishbone 5K.

YMCA employee Juli Ellis along with husband Mike, and kids, Bethany, Kerianne, and Mike, participated in the first Wishbone 5K, and are signed up for the event this year on Nov. 22. This will be their third time to gather as a family for the race.

“It was great to be a part of the first race in 2011. I remember how emotional it was hearing the National Anthem and to see the crowd of people supporting the Fishers YMCA. It was great to see the whole community involved. We keep participating because all events proceeds stay in Hamilton County. You may think that there are not needs in Hamilton County, but there are. I like making a difference where I live, and this a great way to encourage my kids to give back to the community.”

Run the race before you stuff your face

Thanksgiving morning is great time to participate in a run. Since the big meal starts later in the afternoon, doing something active is a unique way to bond as a family and alleviate guilt about all the overindulging that will likely happen later in the day.

Cheri and Chris Fletchall have kept the Wishbone tradition going for seven years. They signed up for the first race when daughters, Claire, Emily, and Madeline were teens, and two of them were lifeguards. This year, Madeline (23), Emily (21), and Claire (18), can’t wait for their annual family event that helps burn calories, so they can feast later in the day.

“Our family tradition continues at Starbucks right after the race, which was Mike’s way of motivating us to run faster. If you don’t finish in 30 minutes or less, we will pick you up after Starbucks. I am working towards a 35 minute time limit this year. We then return home to fight for showers, finish up cooking and join our extended family for a day of feasting and watching games.”

Pumpkin pie is the prize

This year everyone walks away with a medal, even the Kiddie Run participants. After all three races (5K, Senior Stroll and Kiddie Run), the top finishers are awarded pumpkin pies in the gym.

Start your own family tradition at the Fishers YMCA Wishbone 5K. Register by Nov. 8 before pricing increases, or save by signing up as a large group. Register four members in the same transaction and get the 5th one free.