Chatham Turkey Trot Collects $3,500 for Charity
Benefits Chatham Township Fire Department, Diabetes Research Institute.
Particularly energetic members of the community gathered Thursday morning for the second annual Chatham Highlands Turkey Trot, a 5K and one-mile fun run for children.
Braving the chilly temperatures and possibility of rain, 170 runners lined up to traverse the streets of Chatham in the name of the Chatham Township Volunteer Fire Department and the Diabetes Research Institute.
While racers stretched out their hamstrings and cheered on the kids in the fun run, groups spoke about why they were out running at 8 a.m. on the morning of Thanksgiving.
Reasons ranged from the race being a good cause to being good exercise, and everyone seemed happy to get their circulation going before a long day of eating and drinking.
Organizer Curt Ritter was feeling the holiday spirit as he brought the reasoning behind the event back to being thankful.
"Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks and giving back," Ritter said. "We are fortunate enough to live here in the Chatham Highlands and we thought we'd give something back to the fire department who've done so much for our community."
At the time of the race, organizers were on track to collecting $3,500 for both the fire department and the Diabetes Research Institute.
Gary Sagendorf, president of the Chatham Fire Department, expressed his gratitude for the organizers and participants of the race.
"Any time a subset of a community can come out, it benefits all of us," Sagendorf said. "We want to thank you, Happy Thanksgiving, and I think it's about time to get this race started!"
Racers released their pre-race tensions with a group stretch, and at 9:15 they were on their way.
The overall winner was Trip Burke, 16, who finished with a time of less than 20 minutes, a course record. Though he had never run the race before, Burke has been running up and down the soccer pitch all autumn as a member of the Chatham High men's soccer team.
He said he enjoyed the race and planned to spend the rest of the day at his grandmother's house. He was followed closely by last year's overall winner, Mason, the chocolate lab.
The women's division winner was Monica Episcapo, Jack O'Neill won the boys and Sheila Connolly won the girls for the second year in a row.
Looking at the success of the second Turkey Trot, organizers have a positive outlook on the future of the race. "I think it's going to become a great tradition not only for our community in the Chatham Highlands, but also in the borough, township and elsewhere," Ritter said.