The Iron Turkey Race continues to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease


Special to the Prospector

The Iron 5K Turkey race will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 28 at 750 N. Sunland Park Dr.

Leonardo Montañez, Staff Reporter

The Phi Delta Theta Fraternity is hosting their annual Iron Turkey race on Nov. 28, a philanthropy event that will raise funding for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis research, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Muhammad Saad Sheikh, public relations chairman of Phi Delta Theta, said that all the money collected will go to the ALS Association in New Mexico.

“There is still no cure for the ALS, so the Iron Turkey will contribute to help research and hopefully find a cure,” said Sheikh, sophomore media advertising major. “This is our biggest philanthropy event of the year.”

The race will be hosted by The Greenery in Sunland Park and will have different events and races.

“We will have the main event, which is the 5K run, but if you’re not a runner, we also have a one-mile fun run or walk,” Sheikh said. “Additionally, we will have a costume contest with a Thanksgiving theme and the Turkey Olympics, which entails a format of four-person relay, in which you have to run with a frozen turkey—each person is running a quarter mile and the turkey will be provided.”

The race will have trophies and prizes for the first, second and third place to male and female finishers in each age group, which includes gift cards to The Greenery at Sunland Park Mall. This year’s Iron Turkey will also have giveaways such as basketballs signed by coach Tim Floyd and footballs signed by coach Sean Kugler.

Last year, the Iron Turkey had approximately 700 people participating, and this year they expect to have more than 1,000 runners, Sheikh said.

“Over our past four years, we have raised over $40,000 for the ASL Association and we are looking to contribute significantly this year as well,” Sheikh said. “We want to invite people to contribute to a great cause and to start off Thanksgiving Day with a great deed.”

Sheikh said that they teamed up with UTEP Athletics and master of ceremonies, Monica Castillo from Power 102,  to raffle free packages to Iron Turkey.

“UTEP Athletics will raffle off a free race packet during one of the games and we are also teaming up with Mónica Castillo—on her social media she will be giving another free packet during the week of Thanksgiving up until Thursday,” Sheikh said.

Mark Heins, owner of The Greenery, said that he’s happy to once again host the Iron Turkey and is helping raise funds by donating $1 for each registration.

“This event has a special meaning to me because my roommate in college used to have ALS, so we are trying to help in any way we can,” Heins said. “We will be giving $5 gift cards to whoever finishes the race to spend whenever they want.”

The Greenery will be providing parking spaces, but will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

“The Iron Turkey has gotten better and better over the years,” said Heins. “It has grown significantly over the years and has been a great way for raising money for research.”

UTEP alumni Bernie Maese is expecting to enjoy the race although the weather doesn’t look favorable.

“I am expecting—with this current weather—a chilly race, but mostly expecting to have a great time,” Maese said. “Especially with the added bonus of dressing up for the race—it is something other Thanksgiving Day races don’t do, well at least that I am aware of.”

For Maese, the Iron Turkey has become a Thanksgiving tradition since he thinks that it addresses a problem that citizens don’t see so much in the border region.

“I have been running the race since the inaugural race, plus I have to burn a lot of calories to make up for the feast I will have later on,” Maese said. “I think it is admirable of them to found an event that can draw many to raise money and awareness for ALS.”

Registration may be done at, starting from $20 for the Turkey Olympics only and $35 for the 5K and Turkey Olympics.

The race will start 7:30 a.m. at 750 N. Sunland Park Dr.

Leonardo Montañez may be reached at [email protected]