At 8AM on Thanksgiving morning in 1998, the first Naperville Noon Lions Turkey Trot stepped off. A Lion’s member said his former club in the northeast had been very successful putting on a 5k race on Thanksgiving. Knowing that Naperville has many people running the streets for fitness and has produced many great running teams from the high schools to North Central College, it seemed like it would be a great fit.

The Naperville Noon Lion Foundation got to work. That first race started on Jackson by Centennial Beach. Pre-registration entries were slim for this first race. Sponsors with free entries pleaded with some North Central runners to come out and help fill the field.

Thanksgiving morning broke sunny and 65 degrees. The word had gotten out and with the great weather runners kept showing up to register. With only insurance coverage for 200 runners, paper registration slips, and paying with cash and checks, it was a mad house.
That first Thanksgiving race had 326 finishers, with 147 females and 179 males. Success beyond our expectations.

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