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A Preview of This Year’s Troy Turkey Trot: A Thanksgiving Tradition

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Get Your Trot On This Thanksgiving

The 65th Annual Troy Turkey Trot

The Troy Turkey Trot. Photo Courtesy of Troy Turkey TrotSix months ago, I was lying on the couch with my left leg in a splint, my knee swollen, bruised, and throbbing, with layer upon layer of bandages wrapped tightly around it to keep it completely straight. Things were a bit hazy from the painkillers, and standing up by myself was nearly impossible. Walking was impossible. After tearing my ACL while playing soccer in April and having ACL reconstruction surgery in May, I found myself unable to run for the first time in my life and facing months of physical therapy in order to regain the strength and flexibility of my left leg. Running has always been my way of escaping stress. Now, in the face of perhaps the biggest obstacle of my life, my method of coping was not an option.

I crutched into my first physical therapy appointment nine days after surgery with my sneakers slung over my shoulder. Struggling onto the table, I was devastated to discover that I couldn’t even bend my knee enough to put my shoe on my foot. For the next few months, every small step towards normalcy was a victory.  Striding without a limp, driving my standard car again, walking up and down stairs—I celebrated each one.

And when I jogged my first few uncertain steps after months of physical therapy sessions, hours and hours of exercises, and an absurd amount of ice, I was proud, relieved, and, most of all, thankful.

This Thanksgiving, when I toe the line with thousands of other runners in Troy to run the 65th annual Turkey Trot 5K, the ability to run again will be high on my list of things I am especially thankful for.

Running the Turkey Trot is a particularly appropriate way for me to celebrate just how thankful I am this year, but no matter what you are thankful for, participating in this long-standing tradition is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving—and to feel a little less guilty about eating a giant Thanksgiving dinner. One of the largest turkey trots in the country and the 64th oldest road race in the world, the Troy Turkey Trot is the largest event hosted in Troy throughout the year, drawing about 7,000 participants.

This year’s Trot will feature four events: the 5K and 10K runs, the one-mile Turkey Walk, and the Grade School Mile. Athletes of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate so don’t be intimidated if you aren’t an accomplished racer or a competitive runner. The atmosphere is friendly and fun, and you’ll see people racing to the finish line in team uniforms, jogging along in costumes, and everything in between.

The events begin at Fourth and Fulton Streets and finish on River Street, with post-race festivities and entertainment in Monument Square. The 5K course follows an out-and-back route along River Street, and the 10K is two loops of the 5K course. Each of the races will have a seeded start, with competitors lining up by predicted finish time in order to ensure that the race starts smoothly and that each runner in the crowd has plenty of room to run. Chip timing will be used to keep track of runners’ finish times, but don’t worry if you aren’t one to watch the clock. There’s nothing wrong with being thankful for just crossing the finish line—I know I will be.

USA Track and Field Adirondack will be managing the Turkey Trot again this year after a two-year hiatus. George Regan, who is well known as the director of the Freihofer’s Run for Women, is this year’s Troy Turkey Trot director. He and his team have made some changes and additions to the traditional event, including changing the course back to its historic out-and-back format, adding teams to the event, and changing the event schedule.

This year, the 10K race will begin at 8am, with the Turkey Walk and Grade School Mile beginning at 9:20am, and the 5K starting at 9:45am. This will ensure that everyone participating in the Turkey Trot events will be finished with plenty of time left to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Awards will be given to the top finishers in the competitive 5K and 10K events, Turkey Walk participants will receive a commemorative pin, and every Grade School Miler will receive a medal for finishing the race. Race results will be listed in The Record and online at following the event.

During an interview regarding the Turkey Trot, Regan stated, “This event has great history, it has great tradition…and it’s on a great day.  It’s on a day of thanks, it’s on a day of giving.” In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot will benefit three charities: the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the Troy Boys & Girls Club, and the Lansingburgh Boys & Girls Club. Race participants, volunteers, and those coming to spectate are encouraged to bring non-perishable goods for donation. These items will be collected by the Regional Food Bank and distributed to food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters.

Online registration for the 65th Annual Troy Turkey Trot closes at 11:59pm on Sunday November 18th, and there is no registration on the morning of the race, so if you’d like to participate in this great Thanksgiving tradition, sign up soon! Race packets (and t-shirts for the first 6,000 people registered for the 5K and 10K races) can be picked up at the Troy Atrium on November 17th, 20th, and 21st from 12noon until 7pm, and on Thanksgiving Day before the events begin.

If you are interested in participating in the Troy Turkey Trot but you don’t want to run or walk, consider volunteering at the event. You can sign up on the Turkey Trot website with a group or as an individual. Whether you’ve been training for months, you’re feeling particularly speedy lately, or you’re like me and just running because you can, the Turkey Trot is a great opportunity to support an important cause, burn a few extra calories before Thanksgiving dinner, and celebrate everything you have to be thankful for.

For more information about the 2012 Troy Turkey Trot, visit

Jessica Venezia is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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