More than 600 participants have signed up for Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care’s first Thanksgiving Day 5K Turkey Trot, an event organizer said Tuesday.
The 5K walk/run will kick off Thursday at the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club on River Street. Registration for the event will begin at 8 a.m., and the race will start at 9 a.m.. According to Hospice Community Relations Coordinator Kelly McGraw, participants can run, walk, or stroll along the 3.1-mile route through Oneonta’s Sixth Ward. Anyone interested can register at the Boys and Girls Club tonight from 4 to 7 p.m., or on race day starting at 7:30 a.m.
McGraw said there has been tremendous interest and support from the community for this new race. After participating in a turkey trot in her own hometown, McGraw said, she thought of Oneonta’s committed group of runners and wondered if the city could start its own annual race on Thanksgiving.
“The plan all along was to establish this event as a tradition that families can look forward to participating in every year around Thanksgiving,” McGraw said.
Petrea Delberta, business manager at the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club and member of the race’s planning committee, said she was happy to work with Hospice and to be able to provide a warm home base for the race at the Boys and Girls Club.
“Any time we can work with a nonprofit organization like Hospice, we do.” Delberta said. She said Hospice has been great to work with.
Proceeds from the race will go toward Hospice’s “The Perfect Gift” program, which McGraw said started with a donation from the Sixth Ward Athletic Club and allowed a hospice family the gift of a fully prepared Christmas dinner. According to Hospice’s website, the program’s goal is to “offer every hospice family a lasting experience that is unique, personal and forever meaningful.” McGraw said this does not necessarily mean a material gift, but rather a special event or experience for recipients and their families.
“Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together and be grateful, and also to remember loved ones who are no longer with us,” McGraw said. “The race is a way to honor families and encourage this.”
According to McGraw, many of the participants are coming from out of town in order to be home for the holiday.
Before the race starts, participants will have the chance to write messages on helium balloons in honor or in memory of loved ones who have died. The balloons then will be released, and runners will be set loose on the course, which McGraw described as nice and flat.
“Many people will be familiar with the route, which is the same that is used for the Lower Deck Dash,” McGraw said. “It is the ideal community and location for this kind of race.”
An awards ceremony for the race will take place at 10 a.m., with prizes given for the winners of each age category. McGraw said the winners will receive home-baked pies donated by members of the community to take home for Thanksgiving dinner.
“The Turkey Trot is a fantastic family event for the holiday,” Delberta said. “And a good way to pre-run off your Thanksgiving meal!”