Frank Speziale photo
Sunday Runners and walkers encouraged; costumes welcomed
NORWICH – The streets of downtown Norwich will be filled with runners and walkers for the 37th annual Norwich Family YMCA Turkey Trot 5k run/walk on Sunday, November 18.
This holiday tradition is looking to have a goal of 500 or more participants take on the mostly flat course around the city streets in effort to raise money for the YMCA.
The 37 year old event has grown into more than just a race. Each year, a new feature has been added to make the Sunday afternoon for all in the family as turkey trotters of all ages can register for the 5k run/walk.
“What started out as an event organized by runners for runners to support the YMCA has grown into a staple event in our community.” said Norwich Family YMCA Executive Director Jamey Mullen. “It brings the whole family together the Sunday before Thanksgiving to support the Norwich Family YMCA different expenses sees throughout a fiscal year.”
Prior to the start time of the 5k, or 3.1 miles, there is a free half-mile run/walk for kids ages 11 and under. The kids neighborhood fun run begins at 12 noon and participants are asked to arrive at 11:45.
“This fun run gives the younger kids who aren’t quite ready to partake in the larger course but who want gain the experience of road races, which are something that promote heath and wellness at a young age,” said Shannon Gawronski, race coordinator and the Y’s fitness director.
The 5k begins at 12:30 p.m. right in front of the YMCA on North Board Street. This year Gawronski has added a twist to the race for those who are interested.
“Runners and walkers are welcome to dress in a Thanksgiving themed costume for the event this year,” said Gawronski.
For example, Gawronski gave ideas like a turkey, a pilgrim or a Native American. The will be prizes awarded to those who are best dressed to the holiday. “We decided to add this as a part of the race this year to show that while it is a race, it is meant to be fun for everyone in the family.”
Thanks to the many sponsors of the event, each individual who registers will receive a race shirt, a post-race sandwich and snacks from Arby’s as well as a yogurt from Chobani.
Those who their age division will receive the prize of the infamous “Turkey Trophy,” as well as a medal. Divisions are 11-and-under, 12-15, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80-and-over are for both men and women, with one men’s overall winner and one women’s overall winner awarded.
The race will be held regardless of weather conditions. Event participants are also reminded to be caution while on the streets around downtown as traffic will still occur.
“We ask that all everyone to please be careful while on the course,” said Gawronski. “We want everyone to start and the end the race with no injuries so we ask that you both the drivers of the vehicles and the trotters of the event share the road.”
Volunteers are always welcome to help and are asked to contact the Y to sign-up. Families, friends and members of the community are also invited to cheer on the participants throughout the race and at the finish line.
Applications for the event are currently being accepted at the Y and will continue until 12 p.m. on race day. Early entry fee is $25 while signing up on race day will cost $30. Students in 12th grade or younger will have a fee of $20. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. on race day and all participants must sign in to receive your racing bib.
“It is nice to see entire families participating together, exercising together, competing together to support a community cause,” said Mullen.
Stop by the Norwich Family YMCA today to pick up the entry application or fill out the online form using the link on the Y’s website, www.norwichymca.com.