Runners take off during the 14th annual Turkey Trot. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
December 02, 2021Around 500 people gathered on Thanksgiving morning to get a nice run or walk in before the big dinner during the Gilford Youth Center's 14th annual Turkey Trot.
Runners and walkers of all ages came out on Thursday morning for the annual Turkey Trot, a 5K course benefitting the GYC and giving people the chance to get outside and get moving on Thanksgiving.
GYC Director Scott Hodsdon said 400 people pre-registered for this year's event and around 100 people joined on the day of the race, making for a turnout of around 500 people.
The numbers were an explosion from last year's numbers. Hodsdon said 75 people took part last year, which he said was a good number considering the cold and rainy day and the ongoing pandemic.
"Just being a part of everyone's holiday tradition means a lot to the Youth Center," Hodsdon said.
Runners and walkers started at the GYC and went down Potter Hill Road, Belknap Mountain Road, Goodwin Road, Hoyt Road, then made the loop at Farmer Drive and came back on Hoyt Road, Route 11A, Belknap Mountain Road, and back onto Potter Hill Road, and ending at the GYC again.
Walkers started around 8:45 a.m. with people of all ages including families with young children and strollers and people with costumed dogs taking part.
Runners started at 9 a.m. and were timed until they reached the finish line by the Gilford Community Church.
Winnipesaukee Bagels 2 was the prime sponsor. Restaurant staff were also in front of the GYC cooking egg sandwiches to order with all proceeds going to the GYC.
Members of the Gilford Community Church and people in the community donated pies that were given to each of the top finishers in each age category.
Sam Evans-Brown of Concord was the first overall finisher with a time of 17 minutes, 49 seconds. Evans-Brown is a Gilford High School alumnus and was in the area visiting his in-laws in Moultonborough. He said his sister-in-law looked up any Thanksgiving runs and found the Gilford event. They ended up leaving less than an hour before the race started and got the chance to register at the last minute.
Evans-Brown said this was his first time running the Turkey Trot, but was familiar with the route. He has run the Gilford Old Home Day 5k several times and said it's the same route. He described it as a "classic New England road course" going through a nice neighborhood with a few manageable climbs.
"I personally am just happy to get out and exercise," Evans-Brown said. "It's not really about winning, it's about breathing hard and feeling like you're alive. It's a fantastic organization and I'm happy to be supporting them in their mission."
Alyssa Kessler of Gilford was the first place female finisher with a time of 21 minutes, 24 seconds. She said it was great to get out and get moving before Thanksgiving dinner and it was great to do an event in her neighborhood.
"I think it's perfect, it's exactly what you need before a big meal," Kessler said.
She said it was a great course, not too flat and with some sloping hills.
"I think we need it; (something to) get you outside, no reason to be afraid of the cold," Kessler said.