By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
While thoughts of Thanksgiving Day may be the furthest thing from the minds of most people right now since it is six weeks away, that is not the case for Jason and Stacia Talkington, directors of the Shinnston Turkey Trot. This will be the 8th annual event that has continued to grow by leaps and bounds since its inception!
A 5K that drew a little over 50 participants its first year, this race last year had 900 registrants and keeps growing year after year! Regardless of the weather, race participants look forward to the Shinnston Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning for diverse reasons. For some, it is a good way to start their Thanksgiving Day … perhaps running off the calories they will consume when they sit down later in the day to enjoy a hearty meal! And as it has grown through the years, it has for some runners become an event that allows them to visit old friends in town for the holidays who also show up to support the race.
Still, for others, they race simply to support the cause, which is to help fund the Marie Gaston Memorial 4-H Scholarship Fund. This fund, started in 2009, helps to fund camp fees for worthy 4-Hers as well as to purchase camp equipment and snacks. These scholarships are a memorial to the late Marie Gaston, a Lincoln High School graduate who became involved in 4-H at the age of eight and who continued her commitment as a teen leader, mentoring other young 4-Hers. She was killed in a tragic car accident while a student at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Sponsored again this year by Mary’s Hair Care and Fitness Center in Shinnston, the Shinnston Turkey Trot 5K begins bright and early on Thanksgiving morning with registration at 7:30 a.m. (race at 9 a.m.) at the Shinnston Rail Trial across from Rite Aid and Advance Auto. The Gobble Wobble for little ‘trotters’ begins at 8:50 a.m.
If you are planning to participate, you are encouraged to register early! Pre-registration is $15 per person, which also entitles runners to an official race t-shirt. But you must register prior to October 20th for this perk! Those who decide to participate at the last minute may also join in; however, the fee is $20 on the day of the race. A registration form is available on their website – www.shinnstonturkeytrot.com.
The course is USATF certified, and disposable chip timing is provided by Runner’s High.
This race is very family-friendly with race day snacks offered as well as face painting for the kids. And come in ‘turkey attire’ is you so desire!
Trotters can participate individually or as a part of a team. Awards will be given to the top three male and female overall finishers, to the top three male and females in age categories and to the largest team to participate. Many prize drawings will be given away, but you must be present to win.
Due to the overwhelming growth of this event, pets will not be allowed on the race course for safety reasons. And participants who walk or push a stroller are asked to begin the race towards the back of the start line. Directors note, though, that because they have a chip time, your time will not be affected by your positioning. It is merely to ensure a safe start.
If you attend the 2016 Shinnston Turkey Trot as a participant OR as a “fan” supporting a runner, everyone is asked to bring canned foods or non-perishable items on the morning of the race. These donations will benefit The Lord’s Pantry.
As a forewarning, anyone traveling to visit family on Thanksgiving morning should be advised that there may be traffic delays as portions of Pike Street in Shinnston will be closed as the race gets underway.
Start your Thanksgiving morning by trotting in this local 5K. It’s good exercise as well as a “giving” experience on a day set aside for just that purpose.