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The Turkey Trot: a Thanksgiving tradition for the North Country

PERU - The Peru Lions Club has celebrated a traditional holiday for the last 32 years in an untraditional way.

Every Thanksgiving, the nonprofit community service organization steps away from the tradition of football, turkey and relaxation and takes part in something a little different - The John P. Adams Memorial Turkey Trot.

"[Adams] was a runner himself," said co-founder Larry Ewald. "He was interested in it and thought it would be a good thing for the Lions Club to get behind."

Today, the race sees nearly 400 competitors from all around the North Country and beyond. Racers begin at Peru Intermediate School and can compete in a one-mile fun run, a 5-kilometer or a 10-kilometer race, throughout a local orchard.

"I think running is getting to be more popular these days," Ewald said. "As a result, I think people look forward to it."

Ewald has found some people have competed in the Turkey Trot nearly every year since it began.

"We've had these Turkey Trots in driving snow storms. Yet the people still show up," laughed Ewald.

Every year, the race begins at 9 a.m., yet Ewald is urging people this year to show up well in advance.

"Always at 9 a.m. we've got a line," Ewald said. "People trying to squeeze in there."

Ewald believes one of the reasons the Turkey Trot has become such a tradition is because it's a time for people to get out and socialize with their neighbors.

"A lot of these people don't see each other all year," Ewald said.

Another aspect of the race that keeps it so traditional, is it never changes.

"It's pretty much the same each year," Ewald explained. "I think we've run the same set up probably the last 10 years. It's pretty definite. People ... seem to enjoy the fact that it is carried out the same way each year."

The entry fee for the 5- and 10-kilometer racers is $15 and the fun run entry fee is $5. The winner of each race will receive a turkey and a trophy. There will also be turkeys raffled off to those interested. Other prizes will be raffled off at random to anyone entered in one of the three races.

The fun run begins at 9 a.m., with the 5- and 10-kilometer races immediately following. Sign-up begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Peru Intermediate School cafeteria.

For more information contact Ewald at 643-8506 or Jim McCarty at 561-1572.

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