Turkey trot tradition

Westford hosts 25th fun run for charitable giving

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By Lillian Kolbenson
For The Essex Reporter
Paul Allison, of Jericho, was the overall winner of the Westford Turkey Trot on Saturday.  LILLIAN KOLBENSON

Paul Allison, of Jericho, was the overall winner of the Westford Turkey Trot on Saturday.
LILLIAN KOLBENSON

Twenty-five years ago the Committee for Westford Children and Families decided to hold a turkey trot. The fun run was originally planned to cover the costs of babysitting services and a dinner offered to participants of a parenting class; the class dissipated after a few years, but the Westford Turkey Trot became a tradition.

The annual event drew a good crowd in its 25th year with 249 registered runners plus volunteers.

The Committee for Westford Children and Families is now made up of six local woman: Allison Weinhagen, Perky Maddocks, Kim Horton, Andrea McBride, Peggy Rodgers and Rosemary Shea-Cobb – who all participated in this year’s event.

All profits from registration, concessions and merchandise go to local causes. Some of which include the Westford Food Shelf, baskets for the annual holiday church auction, concerts, Four Winds – a nature program for students, and local families in need.

“We give as the need arises,” said Weinhagen.

The Westford Turkey Trot offered different lengths for participants. The 100-yard Tot Trot, for 5-year-olds, rewarded runners with chocolate turkeys at the end. The 3K and 10K runners began together at Westford Elementary School and followed a “scenic, rolling hills” course according to Maddocks. The 10K runners ranged from 14- to over 60-years-old.

Ken Schalz, the male winner for the 60 and older category had a time of 44:57:1. Compared to the winning runner in the 14 and under age group, Timothy Cobb, who had a time of 44:21:2.

The fastest time of the morning was 35:17:6, run by Paul Allison. Allison, who is also the Nordic Skiing coach at Essex High School, registered in the 20- to 29-year-old age category and was the overall winner.

Participants in the 3K and 10K races near the Westford Elementary School during the Westford Turkey Trot on Saturday. LILLIAN KOLBENSON

Participants in the 3K and 10K races near the Westford Elementary School during the Westford Turkey Trot on Saturday.
LILLIAN KOLBENSON

Following the races, hand-painted turkey medallions made by Longina Smolinski, a Westford resident, were given to the winners of each age group. There was also a raffle; all runners and volunteers were automatically entered to win prizes donated by local families and companies.

“It is always a fun community event,” said Weinhagen.

The 25th annual Westford Turkey Trot raised over $4,000. Members of the Committee for Westford Children and Families have a plan to work all the profits back into the community.

“In prior years, we’ve been able to donate every time a request comes in,” said Weinhagen.

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3K and 10K participants start their races during the Westford Turkey Trot on Saturday. LILLIAN KOLBENSON

3K and 10K participants start their races during the Westford Turkey Trot on Saturday.
LILLIAN KOLBENSON