For the Cotter’s of Bedford, the Turkey Trot is a family affair—though they travel to New Jersey each year for Thanksgiving, they make sure to return in time for the 5K run back home, an event that has expanded from 225 runners in 2005 to the 400 participants expected for this year’s race.
The fitness-oriented family—Amy, her husband, and their three children, ages 13, 15 and 16—have participated since the event’s inception, and each year have different goals. “Sometimes the kids want to beat their Dad, or best their own personal time—or just finish the race,” she said. “It’s just a great thing to do—run on a crisp day and see your friends and neighbors.”
Building a community event, where people could reconnect in a fun and healthy way, was exactly what the organizers had in mind when they first came up with the idea, said Jennifer Schwartz, one of the event’s founders and annual organizers.
“We wanted to begin a tradition that was about family, health and the town—one last thing to do together before everyone goes into hibernation for the winter,” she said.
The 3.1 mile course is challenging: after starting at Bedford Village Elementary School, runners immediately head to to Seminary Road, then toward Indian Hill Road for a 200-foot climb; those who make it are rewarded with a coast downhill, and to a flat finish through the village, ending at Bedford Village Memorial Park.
Because the goal was to host a family-friendly event, a children’s “fun run” has been a part of the Turkey Trot from the beginning, said Wendy Camerik, publicity coordinator.”One of the best parts has been seeing kids who started in the fun run move on to the full race,” she said. “From under 12 to over 70, we’ve got eight major age categories.”
Awards donated by Small Joys will be given to the top overall male and female finishers, and the top three male and female runners in each age grouping. Certified race results were made possible three years ago when they signed on a company to record each runner’s time via individual tags, said Schwartz. “That’s when we knew the race hat hit its stride as a high-caliber event, drawing runners from all over Northern Westchester,” she said.
And though they have the planning “down to a science” now, the first year was a bit hairer, according to Schwartz. After the town board unanimously approved their idea, they had only six weeks to throw it together.
“We’ve been so lucky to have such generous sponsors from the beginning—and we hope it brings potential shoppers to the area. All of the proceeds go directly toward running the race,” she said.