The Turkey Trot turns 100, as New Paltz, Kingston and Phoenicia residents prepare to run

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In the early 1900s, the “Turkey Trot” was the name of a fast, lively dance performed to ragtime. Brought to Broadway in 1913 by Vernon and Irene Castle. “It achieved popularity chiefly as a result of its being denounced by the Vatican,” according to that modern-day oracle Wikipedia. “It was thought that the positions assumed by the dancers were offensively suggestive.”

Nowadays, of course, a Turkey Trot is a footrace, usually for charity, designed to assuage people’s feelings of guilt over their excessive caloric intake on holidays like Thanksgiving. The longest-running public footrace in this country is a Turkey Trot that’s actually older than the dance craze, originating in Buffalo in 1896. Troy’s marks its centennial this year, and still draws an enormous turnout. So you might say that it’s an upstate New York tradition.

On this scale, the Family of New Paltz Turkey Trot is a youngster, with its 13th annual 5K run/walk scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, November 24. The course begins at the intersection of Water Street and Plains Road, heading south on Plains Road and returning via the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to the finish line at the Water Street Market. Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Market’s upper parking lot, and there will be family-friendly live music performed at the site that morning as well.

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“For the more serious runners, the 5K course will be certified by USATF [USA Track & Field] this year, and will include chip timing,” the organizers have announced. “As part of the package provided by the chip-timing company, photos of individual runners crossing the finish line will be available for upload at no cost.” Registration costs $25 for runners aged 13 to 64, $15 for seniors aged 65 and up and youngsters aged 12 and under. The fees go to support Family of New Paltz’s Food Pantry and Crisis Services.

The New Paltz Turkey Trot also includes a half-mile Fun Run for kids, with no entry fee, getting underway at 9 a.m. For more info, visit www.newpaltzturkeytrot.com. To preregister, visit www.newpaltzturkeytrot.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=5941.

The Kingston Turkey Trot – a fundraiser for the Junior League of Kingston, with part of the proceeds going to the People’s Place Food Pantry – is about to have its fourth annual iteration on Thanksgiving morning, November 24. The untimed 5K sets out from Dietz Stadium at 9 a.m., passing through Forsyth Park, along Lucas Avenue to Green Street, then out Fair Street as far as Greenkill Avenue, returning via Wall Street. There’s also a two-mile Family Fun Run/Walk. Registration for either costs $20 online in advance, $25 at the stadium beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the race. To register, visit www.turkeytrotkingston.com. For more info, call (845) 481-3534 or visit www.facebook.com/jlkny.

In Phoenicia, they save their Turkey Trot for the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, November 26. That way you can burn off some of your candied yams remorse without having to be absent from the kitchen at a critical feast-preparation time. This sixth annual event is billed as “a 2.4-mile fun run, ramble, trot, walk or wobble to benefit the Morton Memorial Library in Pine Hill.” The main race steps off from the Parish Field at 10 a.m., mostly following Route 28 and returning along High Street, crossing the Esopus Creek twice. The free Tot Trot begins at 9:30 a.m.

The entry fees are $10 per individual, $20 per family in advance; $15 per individual, $25 per family on race day, with registration from 8 to 9:45 a.m. at the Parish Hall at 109 Main Street. To register, visit www.phoeniciaturkeytrot.com. For more info, contact Heather Roberts at (845) 688-7064 or hrobertspt@gmail.com, or Patti Rudge at (845) 254-4126 or rudgepatricia@gmail.com.

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