The rain beat down on the Claremont sidewalks on the morning of November 28th 2019, but the town’s strongest citizens braved the harsh weather in order to compete in the city’s annual Thanksgiving Day race, the Claremont Sunrise Rotary-Turkey Trot. The yearly fundraiser, run by the Claremont Rotary Club, raises money for local groups and charities, donating to local youth sports as well as investing in youth leadership programs. For many Claremont families, the race also plays a huge role in their Thanksgiving Day traditions and festivities. Coleen Macnamara, a Claremont resident, attended the turkey trot for her ninth time this year.
“It’s a huge part of our family tradition, I have a lot of family that comes here and everyone really looks forward to the turkey trot,” Macnamara said. “It’s a very family-friendly, good clean fun event.”
While the less than ideal weather deterred many of the usual runners, the positive energy could still be felt as participants warmed up near the start line in the center of the Claremont village. CHS students often join in on the fun of this event. Cross-country runners also enjoy the race as a time to hang out with friends and get a workout in before their big feast.
“We’re here for fun, to get our run in, and to stay in shape,” CHS senior and cross-country runner Sean Castro said.
The Turkey Trot, however, is not just about running. It’s also about having fun, and volunteers put in time and effort to make the event a positive memory. Just ask the Turkey, the race’s famous mascot. After being selected to wear the costume by fellow members of the Rotary Club board, this anonymous volunteer, spent his morning in a full-body costume, high-fiving young children as they crossed the finish line. When asked what his favorite part about being the turkey was, he explained the benefits of the costume.
“The suit is much warmer. I’m not worried about getting cold or wet,” the Turkey said. However he also mentioned his excitement to return home and take off the costume.
The Turkey Trot also provides a unique opportunity for students to race their teachers. For example Mr. Pettibone, a CHS physics teacher, mentions in class every year that he runs the race in hopes of friendly student teacher competition. This year he thought he had a chance against Aaron Alarcon.
“He basically ran right next to me the entire race until there was about half a mile to go, and then he started to pull ahead.” Pettibone said. “I think he beat my by fifteen or twenty seconds.”
Although it didn’t work out for Mr. Pettibone, rain or shine, the Turkey Trot will remain a great Claremont tradition. For runners and non-runners alike, the event is a great addition to any Claremontian’s Thanksgiving morning.
“I encourage more people to participate, and you don’t need to be a runner to enjoy this race,” CHS sophomore and cross-country runner Theo Chinn said.
So as the rain continued to beat down on the Claremont sidewalks, the strong and resilient Claremont citizens crossed the finish line with pride, ready to spend quality time with their families and friends.