Metro, Newton

Residents Celebrate Community and Tradition at Ninth Annual Newton Turkey Trot

Donning racing bibs and hats adorned with stuffed turkeys, runners raced through Newton as crowds cheered them on at the ninth annual Newton Turkey Trot on Saturday.

With over 1,000 participants annually and $130,000 raised to date to promote community awareness of health, wellness, and community service, the Turkey Trot was in full effect this year after being at least partly virtual for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race’s starting and finish lines at Zervas Elementary School sat alongside a DJ booth and tables from local businesses sponsoring the race. Runners could participate in the 1-mile fun run or the 5-kilometer run either virtually or in person.

Alex Healy said he does the 1-mile fun run every year with his kids. His friends and extended family have been coming to cheer for Healy and his kids the past six years. 

“It’s just a fun event for the Newton community and everyone in the Greater Boston community,” Healy said.

After participating in the run with her family, Healy’s daughter Charlotte said that her goal at the Turkey Trot was just to have fun.

Michelle Tsay stood along the street leading up to the finish line, eagerly awaiting her husband and sons who were participating in the 5k. Her favorite part of the Turkey Trot is being able to run with others, she said.

“I think being able to run with other people in your community and also for it to be a nice, low-key way to get into running,” Tsay said.

The organizer of this year’s Turkey Trot dedicated the race to Tim O’Brien, a founder of the race who died from a heart attack the morning of last year’s race. In honor of O’Brien, participants could donate to fund CPR classes or set up a memorial bench that will be placed along one of O’Brien’s favorite running routes.

The Turkey Trot gifted $30,000 to the Newton Food Pantry in 2021, according to its website. The pantry has seen an increase in those struggling with food insecurity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the website.

The race also partnered with Journey Forward, a nonprofit organization that helps residents of Newton survive spinal cord injuries and disabilities through its exercise-based programs. Participants could donate to this program and the Newton Food Pantry while registering for the race.

Briya Wagner spoke about the weight of tradition in the race, as many families, especially those with younger children, have been running the Turkey Trot for years.

“These kids have been doing it for nine years,” she said. “They’re growing up at this race, and they know that they’re getting exercise and doing something good.”

November 19, 2022

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