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Despite all outward appearances — the faux plumage, the yellow beak, a pair of wings at the ready — Soyoung Kim proved to be no turkey on a sunny Thanksgiving morning.

Even if she appeared, in her own words, overly cooked.

“I’m going to become a dry-as-a-bone turkey after this,” said Kim, laughing while wearing a sweltering, head-to-toe turkey outfit for a morning run before sitting down for the big meal.

Thousands of people — many of them dressed in turkey outfits accented with pairs of running shoes — galloped along Lake Merritt and through downtown Oakland on Thursday morning for the Oakland Turkey Trot. The annual 5-kilometer race was among several pre-Thanksgiving meal running events held Thursday across the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, San Jose and Walnut Creek.

  • OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 24: Ken Gutman, right, and his daughter Scarlett, 7, of Oakland, stretch as his wife and mother Shanon Hogan looks on before the start of the annual Oakland Turkey Trot at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 24: A group of friends and family members in Thanksgiving costumes from the East Bay get ready to participate in the annual Oakland Turkey Trot at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 24: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf addresses to hundreds of participants before the start of the annual Oakland Turkey Trot at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 24: Hundreds of participants take part in the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

  • OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 24: Hundreds of participants take part in the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

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Each of them offered a chance for residents to work off a few calories before the day’s belt-busting activities, often while raising money for charities across the region.

“It’s all about community-building, one turkey leg at a time,” said Eduardo Neal, 51, who, like Kim, donned a turkey suit for the affair.

At least 4,200 people participated in Oakland’s race, which was expected to raise about $50,000 for a slew of nonprofits and charities across the city, said Ryan Dawkins, the race’s director. Those beneficiaries included the Alameda County Community Food Bank, the A-Z Fund at the Oakland Public Education Fund and Running for a Better Oakland.

The festivities represented a return to normalcy for race organizers after the pandemic took a sizeable bite out of signups and donations for the annual gathering. Organizers opted to hold 2020’s event virtually — allowing people to run 5 kilometers on their own, rather than participate as one large group. Despite returning to Lake Merritt last year, only about 3,200 people showed up for the 2021 event.

Fundraising also took a hit, with only slightly more than $20,000 raised during last year’s race, Dawkins said. This year’s total was similar to the amount raised in 2019, when $50,000 was raised among about 5,000 participants.

“I feel like people were more in the giving mood this year,” Dawkins said.

For most participants, the event offered a chance to earn an extra slice of pie and a second helping of stuffing in the hours to come.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Participants with turkey heads approach the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

Mayor Libby Schaaf joined in a pre-race countdown, cheering on the hordes of galloping gobblers as they jogged down Lakeshore Avenue near The Pergola at Lake Merritt,

“It just shows the beauty of Oakland — look at this weather, look at this community,” Schaaf said. “There is much to be grateful for.”

TJ Hadidian, 30, brought the whole spread. Dressed as a stick of butter, he stood flanked by friends and family dressed as a carrot, an ear of corn, a green bean casserole, a piece of gingerbread, cranberry sauce, a pickle, a pineapple and — of course — a turkey.

The point wasn’t to go fast, he said. It was just to make it to the finish line.

“It’s not very aerodynamic,” Hadidian said, motioning to his butter costume. “We’re not here to win. We’re here to look good.”

Flaunting a hat in the shape of a pumpkin pie — complete with a dollop of whipped cream — Alisa Lai called the gathering something even greater: A true Thanksgiving Day tradition, one as necessary as the baked dessert sitting atop her head.

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“We have a lot to be thankful for,” said Lai, 38, of Pleasanton. “One of the things about the running community is you can make friends that become family. That’s kind of what Thanksgiving’s about.”

Not to mention, it also helped make room in her belly for the feast to come.

“I feel less guilty — I feel like if I have two slices of pie, that’s OK, because I ran three miles,” Lai added. “It’s a balancing act.”

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Miguel Perez, center, approaches the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Hundreds of participants take part in the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Kevin Chaves, of Oakland, gestures as he approaches the finish line in first place during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Participants approach the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Participants approach the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Participants approach the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Participants approach the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Annie Diaz, left, and Andony Mourdoukoutas participate in the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Souvenir medals sit in a table for participants crossing the finish line during the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Hundreds of participants take part in the annual Oakland Turkey Trot 5-Kilometer race at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

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Whitlock: Russia uses Brittney Griner to fleece President Biden in the ‘Bay of BiG’

Griner is not an American patriot. She’s an entitled, spoiled athlete who is comfortable flouting the law.

So why did her release from a Russian prison take precedence over the release of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan? Or teacher Marc Fogel? Russia accuses Whelan of being a spy. Fogel received a 14-year sentence in Russia for bringing a half-ounce of medical marijuana into the country. Fogel, who is 60 years old, was arrested in 2021.

Griner jumped to the head of the line because the Biden administration and corporate media are driven by critical race theory and diversity, inclusion, and equity.

CRT and DIE dictated that Biden go to unreasonable and dangerous lengths to win the release of Griner. She’s black and gay. She’s no more valuable to American freedom and safety than Whelan or Fogel, who are white men. Whelan and Fogel – a Marine and a teacher – actually contribute more to American society than a weed-smoking basketball player who promotes anti-American sentiment.

Whelan and Fogel should be the priority.

But absolutely no one cares about Fogel. He can rot in a Russian prison for the next 13 years, and it will draw little attention or sympathy.

The Griner trade will force the Biden administration to cut an even worse trade for Whelan. The wheels are in motion for that as you read this. Brittney Griner’s “wife” talked about supporting Whelan. Leftists are publicly feigning support for Whelan now that Griner is released.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, arguably the best player in football, tweeted sincere outrage over Whelan not being part of the Griner deal. His handlers quickly made him backtrack and apologize.

“Just spoke to some people that I respect and trust,” Parsons tweeted. “I should have been more educated on the topic and not tweeted out of emotion for my family and others who have served. For that I apologize. Also, if what I’m told about the attempts to bring Ret Marine Paul Whelan home are true then the best outcome was accomplished. I pray Mr. Whelan comes home but am extremely happy for Brittney and her family. I am not too prideful to admit when I’ve made a mistake.”

This is the LGBTQ-BLM Alphabet Mafia flexing its political might.

Are Americans stronger and safer when our leaders make decisions based on sexuality and skin color? No. We’re weaker. Russian leader Vladimir Putin used our commitment to racial and sexual idolatry to fleece us in a trade. There are rumors that Putin targeted Griner for arrest because he recognized the Biden administration would be forced to bow to pressure from the Alphabet Mafia.

On Thursday, Biden warned American citizens traveling abroad to take extra precaution to follow all laws of foreign countries. He knows the Bay of BiG has made all Americans more vulnerable.

Simple-minded race idolators will not recognize the damage done by the Bay of BiG. The damage doesn’t matter to them. They only care about racial retribution. Whelan and Fogel are so-called privileged white men.

Brittney Griner is allegedly owed this privilege. It’s payback for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, or some other dead black person the Alphabet Mafia has adopted for political power.

CRT and DIE have weakened our educational system, our work environments, movies, and television. We should not be surprised that foreign policy is next on the hit list.

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