Turkey Trot returns to Saranac Lake

Bitters and Bones Turkey Trot participants gather in front of the bar in Saranac Lake on Thursday prior to the 5K run. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

SARANAC LAKE — An early morning Thanksgiving tradition returned to Saranac Lake and it might have had its largest participation yet.

The Bitters and Bones Turkey Trot returned back to its in-person 5K race in Saranac Lake on Thursday. Last year, the event shifted to a virtual format due to the pandemic. The virtual format had participants find people to sponsor them for each mile covered during the event that started on the first of November and went until Thanksgiving day.

This Turkey Trot, which started in 2015, raises money for two local charities: The Saranac Lake Interfaith Food Pantry and the Saranac Lake Student Needs Funds. Bitters and Bones co-owner Johnny Williams said last year’s event raised $48,000.

This year, the event committee is hopeful that the race raised around $60,000 to $70,000, but will not have the final totals until later next week.

Along with bringing back its in-person race, the event kept its virtual format from last year and brought back its auction, which takes place after the race.

At left, Bitters and Bones co-owner Johnny Williams runs with another runner toward the finish line during Thursday’s 5K race in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

“I’m super hopeful that this is gonna be the biggest year yet,” Williams said. “It was just an awesome turnout, a perfect day. Great event.”

Williams said more people pre-registered for the race this year than any year before. He added that it seemed like a lot of people were registering on the day of the event.

“This is the seventh year, every year it has grown leaps and bounds,” Williams said. “It’s nothing without the community. We are so proud and thankful to be from this place and to see folks show up for the community and for the people.”

Runners, joggers and walkers alike started the race in front of Bitters and Bones on Broadway and followed a roundtrip course to Casa Del Sol on Lake Flower Avenue and back to the bar.

Two Saranac Lake High School alumni, Adam Hesseltine and Caroline Dodd, raced to the men’s and women’s titles, respectively.

Caroline Dodd is seen here outside Bitters and Bones in Saranac Lake after winning the women’s title on Thursday. (Provided photo)

Hesseltine was the first person to cross the finish line with a time of 17 minutes and 54 seconds. Hesseltine, a former cross country runner at Saranac Lake High School, said he didn’t plan on getting the top spot.

“I was planning on taking it easy but I went out hard and just stuck with it,” Hesseltine said.

Like Hesseltine, Dodd was a cross country runner when she attended school at SLHS.

For Dodd, the Turkey Trot win wasn’t her first. She previously won the race in 2019.

This year, she won the women’s title with a time of 20 minutes and 58 seconds, which was seconds faster than her time from two years prior by two seconds to win the race.

Adam Hesseltine runs toward the finish line during the Bitters and Bones Turket Trot on Thursday in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)


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