Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving's own Turkey Day 5K

      These days, the holiday season wasn't the only thing that had people running and out of breath. On Thanksgiving morning, the seventeenth annual Turkey Day 5K race took place in Westernport, Maryland. Despite the 20 degree weather, icy roads, and the rather large snowflakes falling, the race still had an excellent turnout. “We've had over 330 people preregister online for the race and along with the people who will pay directly right before the start, we may have well over 400 runners.” explained Norman Derosa, cross-country coach and teacher at Mountain Ridge High School.
      Directed by Tom Dawson and others, including Mr. Derosa, the proceeds from the race will be used to support Mountain Ridge's cross-country team for traveling expenses, races, uniforms, and other fees that the team may need to cover later on. Registration for the race started at eight a.m and at nine a.m runners were on their marks. Everyone got a shirt for participating, but winners of the race won pumpkin pies and top male and female winners of the 5K got plaques. “I try to make it to the race every year with my mom, if not to run then we at least like to go to watch everyone, especially to go and root on the people we know that participate,” says former Mountain Ridge High School and cross-country runner Sierra Wassell.
      Runners ranging from ages six to eight-four ran the full three point one miles from Westernport to Franklin and back, and on a day to celebrate family, the Turkey Day 5K was a great way to bond with everyone in the family. Ice Anderson, a twenty year old, was a winner for the male division and out of the females, Lauryn MacFawn, a twenty-three year old, won from her division.
      Another benefit from running, other than for the family, was the opportunity to stay in shape, especially over the holidays, when eating normally takes precedent over exercise. Chelsea Winninger of Frostburg, also a graduate of Mountain Ridge, says, “Staying in shape has been important to me ever since I ran cross country and track in high school, so I try to keep up on some of the local 5Ks and races and the Turkey Day 5K has always been one of my favorites because the course is so easy—no hills!” Tiffani Paolucci, who accompanied Ms. Winninger, also agrees with her thoughts on running, “I think it helps to have someone there to run with and keep you going. Three miles might not seem like much, but after that first mile most people start to feel it.”
     As everyone crossed the finish line, both exhausted and accomplished after that last long stretch, most people grabbed a bottle of water, took a seat and a minute to catch their breath, before meeting in Westernport's American Legion to hear their placings.
     In the spirit of the holiday, a thanks went out to Mountain Ridge High School for hosting yet another successful and memorable Turkey Day 5K.

For furthur information regarding placings for the race or for individual pictures of the runner visit

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