Freshmen describes tradition of running annual Turkey Trot


The Community Chest of Port Washington

The Turkey Trot is the perfect opportunity to spend time with close friends and family.

Alexandra Grundfast, Contributing Writer

What makes a holiday special?  Is it the food?  Being surrounded by family?  The traditions?  For Easter, many families have an elaborate egg hunt around their backyard.  For Passover, the youngest child recites the Four Questions.  

For Thanksgiving, there is the tradition of the turkey and preparing a meal with the common Thanksgiving side dishes; a single iconic tradition that cuts across the entire nation.  However, for Port Washington residents, and I am no exception, running the Turkey Trot with friends and family every year has become yet another quintessential piece of Thanksgiving celebrations. This run has been a highlight of not only my holiday season, but also autumn as a whole for all who participate. 

The Turkey Trot is a five mile run that has been taking place every Thanksgiving morning in Port for the past 43 years.  It is an event that brings more than 3,000 people together in order to help others in our neighborhood. 

My mom and I have run the Turkey Trot for the past 5 years, and with each additional year, the experience keeps getting better.  The atmosphere is very judgment-free, as there is no pressure to sprint the whole time, as opposed to the competitive mile run in gym class.

My friends and I enjoy talking together during the run, which seems to make the distance go by faster until we reach the thrilling finish line. 

Though most people dress in layers to stay warm while running in the cold, my favorite part is seeing the people who choose to dress in funny costumes.  Every year that I have run the Turkey Trot, there has always been a group of men dressed as Santa and his reindeers.  

This group costume not only adds to the motivating atmosphere of the community while we run, but also gets the town excited for the anticipated holiday season.

In addition to this themed costume, throughout the years I have seen turkey hats, elf ears, and even complete turkey costumes.  These people spreading joy through their costumes are some of the highlights of my Thanksgiving day.

I also believe that the arduous race would be almost impossible without the ongoing support from the cheering spectators.  Over the years, I’ve noticed that even those who decide to not participate in the physical experience still partake in the event in some way.

I’ve seen people make signs, blast upbeat music from their houses, and set up water stations for the runners in an effort to enhance their experience and motivate them to reach the finish line.

The atmosphere during the event is incredibly positive as the whole community comes together before retreating to their houses for an extensive meal later that night.

“One house on Sandy Hollow Road is known to annually excite participants with encouraging music to prepare them for the final mile or so of the race.  The fact that these people still wish to get involved in this community event and stand out in the cold, early morning weather inspires me and keeps me involved year after year,” said freshman Amber Kakkar.

Once I cross the finish line, I always have a smile on my face upon seeing those who have already finished the race supporting everyone else.

Though a five mile race may seem intense, I find that running while listening to music makes the event exponentially more enjoyable.  Upbeat songs can encourage you to work harder and listening to your favorite songs will always make you more optimistic.  

Having pre-made playlists is a must for all runners so precious time isn’t wasted scrolling through songs in search of your favorites.

“The best feeling is when you get to the end of the race and have people coming up to you and giving high fives, medals, fresh water, and apples.  Even though you may be physically exhausted, it makes the community feel united and fosters a great pride that keeps the town coming back each year,” said Kakkar.

Regardless if it takes you a short 30 minutes to finish the race or over an hour, the experience is a perfect preface for the massive Thanksgiving meal afterwards.  The reason I love the Turkey Trot so much is because it is not only a great physical challenge, but also a great fundraiser and social event.  This is precisely why I believe that the Turkey Trot can easily endure, at a minimum, another 43 years due to its extensive advantages and support from the Port Washington community.