Thanksgiving marks the traditional beginning of the season of overindulgence in America. While there’s something very organic and evolutionarily appropriate about the human body’s innate desire to pack on poundage to get through the rigors of winter, most of us nowadays don’t need to worry about going hungry in January just because the ground is frozen. In fact, by New Year’s Day, a lot of us are making resolutions to lose some of that seasonal weight gain ASAP.
The time to start staving off accumulation of that unwanted flab is now – not by passing up cherished annual gatherings with loved ones at the dining table, but by stepping up our exercise game before the snow begins to fall. Two communities in the mid-Hudson, New Paltz and Kingston, provide excellent excuses to do this on Thanksgiving morning, which offers two advantages: 1) Turkey-induced torpor hasn’t set in yet; and 2) such activity keeps one out from underfoot of the saintly person or persons charged with cooking that formidable feast. If you don’t think you can manage that early level of ambition, head to Phoenicia on Saturday instead to burn off that irresistible second helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Another neat thing about these running/walking events – named Turkey Trots, after a scandalous dance craze of the ragtime era – is that they’re typically benefits for worthy local causes. The 5K Walk/Run and accompanying kids’ half-mile Fun Run whose participants gather at 8 a.m. at the Water Street Market on November 23 constitute the biggest fundraising event of the year for Family of New Paltz’s Food Pantry and Crisis Services. The races step off between 9 and 11 a.m., mostly following the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, and there’s always family-friendly live music at the staging area. For details and registration, visit www.newpaltzturkeytrot.com.
The fifth annual Kingston Turkey Trot has one-mile, 5K and beginner courses, all heading out from Forsyth Park on Lucas Avenue around 9 a.m. on November 23, with registration opening at 7:30 a.m. at the Dietz Stadium basketball courts. Participation for adults costs $15 or $20 and raises funds for the various community projects of the Junior League of Kingston. For more info, call (845) 481-3534; to register, visit www.turkeytrotkingston.com or www.facebook.com/jlkny.
The seventh annual Phoenicia Turkey Trot is a 2.4-mile “fun run, ramble, trot, walk or wobble” to benefit the Town of Shandaken Parks and Recreation Board and help fund rehabilitation of the Smith Park tennis courts. Registration begins at 8 a.m. on November 25 at the Parish Hall at 109 Main Street. The Tot Trot takes off at 9:30 a.m. and the grownups’ version at 10. For info, call (845) 688-7064 or (845) 254-4126, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.phoeniciaturkeytrot.com.