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OTT in quotes

After a great summer of surfing in Oceanside, I was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma cancer in the fall of 2008. As a result I became a right leg amputee. I entered the 2010 Turkey Trot to prove to myself that great things are possible regardless of life's challenges. Basically that I could still do the fun events I did before cancer. I have done two Turkey Trots and one Oceanside Pier swim since then. Again this year my family and friends will be Trotting with me. What a terrific way to start Thanksgiving Day! - John

This is my second time running this race. My former neighbors and friends, the Holbert's, got me started on it. My dad is traveling from Chicago to run again this year too. I would watch out for him if you are in the 70 plus age group. - Robin

My favorite memory of the OTT is from 2010. My 80 year old father walked his first and last 5K, finishing last, assisted by my daughter who was about to have her spine fused with 2 two ft. rods and not be able to run for a year. - Luke

Favorite memory - 1st time participated with my sister and her family running in the rain! I walked; this year after losing 30lbs, I'll be jogging...rain or shine!! - Tammy

Move Your Feet Before You Eat takes center stage in Oceanside

A record 10,000 enter the PMCU O'side Turkey Trot; see photo galleries

The O'side Turkey Trot like you haven't seen it before - read below

Using drone cameras, From Above captured scenes from the record-setting Pacific Marine Credit Union O'side Turkey Trot not seen before. After hitting the big play button in the video above, treat yourself to a true video experience by going to the settings button in the lower right corner of the video and pushing the resolution to 720 (hit the default 360 choice to see a list of options). Then, take it further by hitting the full screen button all the way to the right at the bottom of the video. See why this is America's most beautiful Thanksgiving race.

Lukas Verzbicas (58) follows defending champion Okwaro Raura. Verzbicas went on to win the 5 Mile Race for his first victory since a devastating bicycle accident. (Coat Publications photo)

Part of the record crowd fills downtown Oceanside. (Rich Cruse Photography)

An excited, young participant has a special perch starting in the 12th wave of the family-oriented 5K (left). Above, three members of Team Austin Bice are happy starters. Michellie Jones (below left) wins the 5 Mile. Costumes abounded with many in the big crowd dressing in Thanksgiving themes.

Check out 6 fun 2013 photo galleries!

Click on a thumbnail photo or gallery name below to access one of six PMCU O'side Turkey Trot galleries. Who knows? You might see yourself or your friends/family.

The photo galleries also may be accessed via the Photo Page.

OCEANSIDE, CA, November 28, 2013 - At the front of a record crowd of 10,000 runners and walkers who moved their feet before they ate at Thanksgiving Day's Pacific Marine Credit Union O'side Turkey Trot, a former prep sub-4-minute miler won his biggest victory since starting a remarkable comeback from a serious cycling accident that left him with injuries so severe his doctor told his family he would never walk again.


Lukas Verzbicas shadowed defending champion Okwaro Raura of Oceanside until the final kilometer of the day's opening 5 Mile Race through downtown Oceanside. Then, the two-time Foot Locker National Cross Country champion put it into another gear and won going away in 25:16.


"This is my first big running event and race that I've won since my cycling accident," said Verzbicas, who is now training in Chula Vista at the Olympic Training Center under the tutelage of 800-meter Olympic champion Joaquim Cruz of Brazil. "I could have gone harder, but all that mattered today was the win. After the cycling accident and two months in the hospital, many people told me that I would never run again. I have a gift. I was meant to run. All the pain of the accident didn't compare to the pain that I have felt in training.


"I'm so grateful to be able to run and grateful today to win, running along such a beautiful course along the ocean," he added. "I could not have done this without my entire family of support. All my family, friends, and coaches made this win possible.  I'm so thankful to them."


The largest crowd in the eight-year history of the event and the biggest ever for a running race in North San Diego County filled the streets of downtown Oceanside with brightly colored, festive costumes. Many ran the opening 5 Miler, which finished near the Oceanside Pier at the ocean. The majority ran in the 5K, which went off in 12 separate race starts. The family-oriented day finished with a series of five runs for kids.


The race is unique in that entrants can designate part of their entry fees to support local schools and non-profits. One of those non-profits was the Austin Bice Memorial Scholarship Fund, which attracted more than 500 entrants. The race also directly benefits the Move Your Feet Before You Eat Foundation, started by event organizer Kinane Events to promote physical activity among youth.


That cause resonated with women's 5 Mile champion Michellie Jones of Australia and nearby Carlsbad, an Olympic silver medalist in the triathlon.


"I am thankful for being able to here on a beautiful day and coaching kids who finished the race," said Jones, who won  in 30:25. "I love this cause. It is a great tradition to move your feet before you eat. It's something I really support."


Interestingly, Jones pulled away from runner-up Rachel Challis after a mile-half to win. Challis is also a professional triathlete and, while currently living in Carlsbad, also hails from Down Under in New Zealand.


 "I ran with Michellie until a mile and a half, but Michellie is a little faster," said the 37-year-old Challis. "Hey, she's the Olympic silver medalist, after all."


In the 5K, local star Tom Kloos of Oceanside, a multi-time previous winner of this event, added another title and was the local favorite. Kloos won in 15:08.


"I coached at El Camino High School in Oceanside and ran for them,  and I beat some of my former athletes, and it felt good!" he said. "This is a homecoming for me since I've been running races locally since 1992. I had to prove I'm not getting older."


For the women, Jessica Textoris of Pacific Beach in San Diego won in 17:07. Textoris edged Kate Layton of San Marcos, who runs for the Steve Scott coached Cal State San Marcos program.


"I easily beat my coach today," said Layton, who finished in 17:10. "Steve Scott inspired me and lets me know, whatever I think I can achieve, I can achieve."


Of all the winners among the big crowd in Oceanside, however, perhaps the most thankful was Verzbicas, once the brightest high school distance star in the country. The victory proved to him that he is on track to chase his goals of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics for both the triathlon and either the 5K or 10K in track.


"Triathlons are my focus now. But, down the road, running is my love and my future," said Verzbicas, who made a believer of his closest competitor.


"He ran behind me until the last 1K and I tried to make him take the lead, but I couldn't," said Kenya's Raura. "It was much tougher competition for me this year. I would have done the same thing if I'd been him. When he went (for the win), he was amazing."


In the past seven years, the PMCU O'side Turkey Trot has raised more than $140,000 for its participating charities, a figure that will rise considerably with this year's record crowd.


Verzbicas thankful

winner of 5 Mile

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