Trotting before the feast

Runners and walkers take off at the start of the Bitters and Bones Turkey Trot in 2019. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the annual Turkey Trots are returning to the Tri-Lakes region. The villages of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake will host their running events on Nov. 23, all of which benefit local organizations.

Saranac Lake

Bitters and Bones will host its ninth annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The race will start outside Bitters and Bones at 8 a.m. in Saranac Lake.

Participants will make their way down Main Street, before turning left on to River Street and right on Lake Flower Avenue. The trotters will then turn around at Casa Del Sol and head back to Bitters and Bones.

The Turkey Trot supports the Saranac Lake Interfaith Food Pantry and the Saranac Lake Student Needs Fund. Last year, the event raised $90,000 for charity. Event organizer Johnny Williams said his goal is always to beat the previous year’s total.

“To beat that this year would take a bit of a miracle,” he said. “But I think if we’re not successful in beating that total, I’ll be OK with it, but it always inspires us to work harder, to be more motivated, to enlist more people and to try and grow the event. In nine years, over $350,000 has been raised for the village. I think that’s been a tremendous bit of pride for us.”

Williams said the funds generated from the event have become real resources for people throughout the community. He noted that the Saranac Lake Interfaith Food Pantry has programs to benefit the community such as the Crock-Pot program.

“They bring folks and families in and they literally give them a Crock-Pot and enough resources and ingredients for three meals,” he said. “They teach them how to produce meals with a Crock-Pot and they send them home so they can do those things. They throw a community dinner, so it’s reinforcing community and they give people mentorship and guidance. Not only is it supporting the goal of feeding people, but it’s really allowing people to seek and find support a that organization.”

The event also has a month-long virtual competition throughout November, where participants can track their miles and donations to win a prize. The virtual competition was created in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We decided to put a $1,000 gift card to the person that ran the most miles and the person that raised the most amount of money,” Williams said. “We’ve been proud of our friend Josh Dann who every year has won the most money raised and we’ve had a young man named Ben LeBlanc, who just runs a ridiculous amount of miles, so he won the first two years.”

Last year, John Monroe trotted 366 miles, which was just three miles more than LeBlanc. Meanwhile, Dann raised more than $6,000 in 2022. Williams said it’s been remarkable to see what people could do.

“From that first year where we had the ability to raise $8,000 the community and the event has grown to where we raised over $90,000,” he said. “When I say we, it’s really the community that does it. We’re fortunate enough to have the platform to do the event. It’s the backs from the bank accounts, our friends, local business owners, people that are in the business that we compete with and people that are builders. It’s just incredible the outpouring support.”

Those interested can register online between now and Nov. 22 or in person on race day. The registration fee is $25 for adults, $20 for children — under 18 years old — and $10 for dogs. Following the run, there will also be a live auction. To register online, visit https://tinyurl.com/5y2y283s.

Lake Placid

Adirondack Health will host its 14th annual 5-kilometer Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day at the Beach House in Lake Placid. The event will kick off at 8:30 a.m. before wrapping up around noon.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the local school food pantries and Adirondack Health’s Fit for Life Program across the Tri-Lakes region. The event organizers ask that people bring three non-perishable food items to donate.

“With the schools and the local food pantries, currently everyone is in need,” Event organizer Andrea Chamberlain said. “The Fit for Life Program is a vital part of the community’s wellness and it has a huge impact on people’s lives.”

The Fit for Life program is a medically supervised exercise program. Chamberlain said most of our clientele are older population, but the program does have kids anywhere from eight years old to adults up to 98 years old.

“This is part of our scholarship fund for them, so we don’t have to turn anyone away from getting into this Fit for Life program,” she said. “But this Turkey Trot has turned into a huge community-based (event) helping the food pantries and the school food pantries in all of the Tri-Lakes.”

Last year’s event raised more than $10,000. Chamberlain’s goal is to continue to make the event bigger and better in order to bring more to the community.

“In Lake Placid we get a ton of out-of-town participants participating, so they’re out from outside our community,” she said. “It’s such a good vibe event where we have people from all over coming to visit during this time and sign up for the Turkey Trot and give donations. Really my goal is to see that benefit the community having people come from the outside and to benefit the scholarship and all the local food pantries too.”

The course, which is for walkers and/or runners, consists of a lap around Mirror Lake, starting and finishing at the beach house. Chamberlain said there is a little twist into the course to make it a full 5K.

There will be prizes awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers, as well as, a prize to the person who beats the mystery Turkey Runner to the finish line.

Those interested can register online before Nov. 22 at a fee of $25 per person — children ages 12 and under run can sign up for free. Those who register early will also receive a Turkey Trot T-shirt.

Participants can also register on the day of the race between 6:30 to 8 a.m. at Beach House in Lake Placid. Day-of registration will be $30 — cash or check only — for individuals or $100 for groups of four.

Check-in and bib and T-shirt pick-up will be held on Nov. 22 at the Beach House from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants can also pick up their bibs on Thanksgiving day between 6:30 and 8 a.m.

To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/2ufdmszj.

Tupper Lake

The 10th annual Erin Farkas Dewyea Turkey Trot will kick off at the Tupper Lake Christian Center at 102 Main St.

The Turkey Trot, which will start at 8:30 a.m. and finish at noon, will have two separate races — a 5K and a 10K. The event raises money to support a scholarship fund established in Erin’s name at Tupper Lake High School.

Dewyea passed away unexpectedly in 2014 and was a kindergarten teacher at the district’s L.P. Quinn. Dewyea’s sister and event organizer Nicole Boyer said she did a lot for the Tupper Lake community.

Boyer added that she did a lot for her students, her community and was a part of Kiwanis — helping with a summer reading program.

“So when she passed away, we wanted to just keep her memory alive and her passion going,” she said. “Through the turkey trot, we raise money to fund the summer reading club and help with Kiwanis and we also give out a scholarship to a graduating senior, who is going for education. We also give an award — a teacher is nominated every year — and we give money to that teacher to use for their classroom in Erin’s memory.”

While the Thanksgiving event will mark the 10th time it has been held, Boyer said it will also be the final year for the event.

“We’ve raised enough money to keep all of these things going for Erin for a really long time because we’ve been doing the Turkey Trot for the past 10 years and people in Tupper Lake are very generous,” Boyer said. “Unfortunately, this is our last year, but all good things have to come to an end at some point.”

Boyer said she would love to host a big event in the final year.

“We estimate between 90 to 120 people every year and we’d obviously love for it to be bigger,” she said. “But we’re just happy doing it every year because people in the town just love coming out to it. It’s Thanksgiving morning, so they just love seeing everybody. It’s got a lot of benefits. Everybody is coming together to celebrate my sister.”

The event will start at the Tupper Lake Christian Center and participants, who can choose to either walk or run the race will head down Washington Street and up past the Little Wolf Beach, before returning to the Christian Center.

There will also be prizes for runners who take first place in the 5K and the 10K. Boyer said the prizes haven’t been announced yet, because she was still working on getting the main part of the race going.

“But we give out money every for the best costume and we give out a lot also,” she said. “We have a 50/50 raffle that we pull — either before the race or after the race, it depends — we also have an online auction, where people donate baskets and you can go online and bid until the closing day.”

The race will cost $25 for individuals in the 5K walk/run and $35 for the 10K. Those interested can register on the event’s Facebook page or by contacting Boyer, at 315-730-0119.


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