Jeff Schmitt and Rob Sevold started the Run For Food 10 years ago as an impromptu stop at The Banquet on their normal Thanksgiving morning run.

The next year they invited friends and raised about $1,000 for the feeding ministry in downtown Sioux Falls.

On Thursday that number was $40,000.

"Can you believe it?" Sevold said on Friday (Nov. 24). "I'm humbled. It's amazing how people have embraced the event."

It's hard to know just how many people showed up to run the 5k or 10k, or walk the 1 mile on Thursday. There's no registration. No T-shirt. No clock.

So no way to know for sure. But trust me, it was a lot.

I ran the 5k route. As we left The Banquet on East 8th Street and headed toward the Big Sioux River, the entire street was filled with runners... and walkers... and strollers... and dogs.

From those humble beginnings, the participation and the contributions, including corporate support, has made the Run for Food the single largest fundraiser of the year for The Banquet, said Madeline Shields, director of marketing and development.

"People love it," Shields said on The Patrick Lalley Show on Tuesday (Nov. 21). "A lot of families, they're going to go somewhere for Thanksgiving later in the day, so they get up early, they get out and get some exercise, a lot of people have to get up and walk their dogs anyway, bring them to The Banquet."

The Sioux Falls Area Running Club also helps organize and support the run.

Participation is dependent on the weather, as you might expect, and Thursday was a beautiful morning for a run and hanging out with friends.

"This year was the biggest cash gifts from the runners we've every seen," said Sevold.

Then we had chocolate milk from Stensland Family Farms. So it was good.

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