By Megan Drummond
Lace up your sneakers and head to the starting line for the Slattery’s 33rd annual Turkey Trot held on Sunday, Nov. 24th. The Turkey Trot offers a 5 mile fitness walk which starts at 11:30 p.m., or a 5 mile run that starts at 1:00 p.m.
According to the Sentinel and Enterprise, when the Turkey Trot first began in 1981 there were only 134 runners. Now Slattery’s is offering free t-shirts to the first 1,000 people to register, which shows how much the race has grown in popularity since it first began.
Anyone is welcome to participate in the Turkey Trot. Competitors can sign up for the event online at Active for $25 until Nov. 22nd. If they miss the online deadline, they can register the day of the race for $30.
The race will be timed, with digital clockers located at every mile. The top three winners for the men and women divisions will receive the cash prize of $800. Second place takes home $400, while third place brings home $200. Another prize will be turkeys- just in time for Thanksgiving dinner- awarded to 50 of the non-cash winners in each division. The event will also have raffles with random drawings for merchandise prizes.
The Turkey Trot is not only for serious runners; it offers a family friendly experience no matter what your fitness level is. Children under 12 can race for free at noon in the “dash” event (80 yards in length) or in the “loop” event (.4 miles in length). During the day, there will also be heated tents, food, drinks, and a moonwalk for the kids.
All proceeds from the race go towards the “Turkey Trot Scholarship Fund”. Over the years approximately $180,000 has been raised for the local community. The money is given to athletes at schools such as Fitchburg High, North Middlesex, Leominster High, Lunenburg High, Monty Tech, and St. Bernard’s. The scholarships are meant to benefit young athletes by encouraging them to succeed within sports programs. A first-time Turkey Trot competitor, Caroline Drummond stated that her choice to be part of the race came from a desire to help others: “I wanted to participate in the event because it is important…it gives money back to our community.”
Brandon Davis received a Turkey Trot scholarship when he was a senior in high school. Davis lettered in track and cross-country, and was a three-year captain at Fitchburg High. Now, he is a junior at Fitchburg State, pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. He is also on the roster for the FSU Men’s Indoor Track and Field team. Davis continues to run in the Turkey Trot annually. He says, “I’ve been doing it since my sophomore year of high school. I do it because I personally have won something every year, and because I love running.”