Turkey Trot returns to New Paltz Thanksgiving morning

The Turkey Trot in 2014 (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The Turkey Trot in 2014 (photo by Lauren Thomas)

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,” says 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 in the US and Christmas in the UK. 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. There will be family-friendly live music performed at the site that morning as well: The popular kindie-rock band Fuzzy Lollipop returns this year!


“For the more serious runners, the 5K course will be certified by USATF 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.” In addition to prizes for the male and female winners in each age category, the New Paltz Turkey Trot traditionally hands out awards to runners and walkers who show up in the best costumes. So it’s a great opportunity to shake a tailfeather — literally!

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; it’s one of the agency’s biggest fundraising events of the year, so consider making a donation even if you can’t get out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning long enough for a jog.

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.