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Everyone's a winner at Bridgewater Turkey Trot

While everyone is a “winner” in the Bridgewater Turkey Trot, these four local favorites did cross the finish line first. Pictured: Matt Chorney, David Chorney, Mike Maclean and Brendan Collins. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
December 01, 2010
BRIDGEWATER—It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving in the Newfound area without the annual Turkey Trot.

This year was no exception, as hundreds of runners, walkers, trotters, dogs, a few bicyclers, and hordes of their adoring fans gathered at the popular local "watering hole," the Newfound Grocery, early on a frigid Thanksgiving morning to partake in the time-honored tradition of the Turkey Trot.

"They were lined up to register for the 'race' before we opened at 7:45 a.m.," said Turkey Trot organizer Kathy Lovett. "I think they wanted a T-shirt."

The first 200 participants receive a highly coveted, and always extremely stylish, free Turkey Trot T-shirt for their efforts, with original design by Newfound Signs and Graphics in Bridgewater. They "sell out" very quickly.

This year's edition of the "Turkey T" was a sporty green, with a nervous looking bird racing across the front and "I ran with the turkeys" printed on the back. That about sums it up.

For a donation of whatever amount they want to contribute, runners, walkers and others can sign up to "run with the turkeys," or trot, skip, or walk the approximately 3.5-mile course around Whittemore Point and support an important local charity. This year, proceeds from the event will go to help families in the Newfound area with a local version of an "extreme makeover," a home improvement project for anyone who deserves the help.

Community members have nominated a number of worthy recipients, and race organizer Colleen Kenney says that the Turkey Trot Committee is really excited about the home improvement idea. They will leverage the funds raised from the Trot, and from a yard sale that took place this past summer, with materials generously donated by local businesses, including a grant from Lowe's and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor to help out a families with whatever they need; storm windows, a handicap ramp, a tank of oil, a new roof or a paint job.

But the Turkey Trot has been a charitable event from the very beginning, raising money for many different Newfound area charitable organizations over the years. The "Trot" is a Thanksgiving family tradition for many people in the Newfound Region, with generations of participants growing up with the race, staring out in strollers and finishing in running shoes.

Founded more than 20 years ago by Fred MacLean and his family of avid runners, it has always been a way to "earn your Turkey dinner," have fun and give back to the community.

This year, MacLean served once again as the honorary chairman of the proceedings, taking the microphone of the Bridgewater EMS service ambulance P.A. system at the start line at the Hebron –Bridgewater Elementary School to welcome the participants and start the 'race' off on the right footing.

"We are so excited to have the Turkey Trot founder, Fred MacLean, and so many members of his family here with us this year," said Kenney. "It makes it even more special."

After the race, almost everyone hangs out for a while at the Newfound Grocery to catch up with neighbors, friends, and family members who come back from all over the country for the holiday. There is a spirit of camaraderie and celebration as the participants congratulate one another on their "run" and eagerly await the big raffle drawing in the café of the Newfound Grocery.

This year, there were more than 30 raffle prizes awarded to lucky participants and dozens of homemade pies, courtesy of many area restaurants, bakeries, and businesses. Just about everyone gets in on the act.

After it is all over, it's time to head home to enjoy that holiday meal that has been so well earned, and everyone leaves a winner … except maybe the bird.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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