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Joshua Thomas
Canajoharie Fitness Center Director Kim Hayes greets Turkey Trot attendees and provides rules before sending them out for the annual run.

Joshua Thomas
11th Annual Turkey Trot attendees gather on the bleachers for a group photo before the event begins.

Joshua Thomas
11th Annual Turkey Trot attendees start off just after 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Joshua Thomas - Sydney Shepard and Ayres Animal Shelter dog Scrappy run in Saturday's Turkey Trot.


Turkey Trot runners don't let cold hold them back

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - Updated: 11:04 PM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- Though morning temperatures had only reached 10 degrees by the kick off of the 11th annual Canajoharie Fitness Center Turkey Trot, held Saturday morning in and around the Canajoharie High School, spirits were high and the event's 75 attendees were ready to run.

The runners -- one group clad in hats decorated with stuffed Turkeys -- after signing in, departed the CHS atrium and made their way to the district's outdoor track. After a quick group photo, the runners took to the track, starting together and completing one sprint around the oval before tackling the massive, partially-uphill trail circling the grounds of the school. As the runners rounded the soccer field, some slowed to a walk as they ascended the Cunningham Road hill, making their way back to the high school for further festivities, including raffles and the announcement of the runner who guessed their time most accurately.

That runner was Matt Heiser, who won $365 for his guess. 

The event's winner was Jordan Ahrens, clocking in at 16:07. "He was fantastic," said Canajoharie Fitness Center Director Kim Hayes, who said that while prizes aren't usually given out, she gave Ahrens an Adidas wind jacket for his accomplishment. "I was so impressed by him that I wanted to give him something," Hayes said.

While last year's event started in the sun and was struck by a sudden whiteout blizzard, this year's event was just bitter cold, and Hayes said she felt the weather was the reason for this year's slightly lowered attendance, down from over-100. Event participation naturally fluctuates due to weather, but Hayes said she was still thrilled with the 75 excited souls that turned out Saturday. "I like it to be an intimate run," she said.

One main goal of each year's Turkey Trot is to bring in money for local organizations. This year, it brought in money for the Ayres Memorial Animal Shelter, which Hayes will present during their Christmas Open House Saturday, along with money for the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library, and for Girls on The Run, a program Hayes began three years ago at CCSD.

An 11-month-old Ayres Animal Shelter dog, Scrappy, also participated in the race, walked by Sydney Shepard. Scrappy will be up for adoption at this weekend's Christmas Open House.

The Turkey Trot also, for the first time, solicited donations from local sponsors, bringing in cash to purchase t-shirts and refreshments. Many people also donated handmade, sewn, knitted or patchwork items to raffle during the event.

Hayes noted that many Turkey Trot attendees, including full families, have participated in the event since the very first. "I've loved seeing the kids grow up," she commented, continuing of Saturday's Turkey Trot, "it ended up being very successful. This race has always been one of peoples' favorites."

Joshua Thomas - Daniel P. Murray exits the outdoor track and heads for the CHS Turkey Trot course.

Joshua Thomas - Dan Ahrens runs in Saturday's Turkey Trot.

Joshua Thomas - Janine Keller (left) and Sarah Borthert ascend a steep incline.

Joshua Thomas - The Turkey Trot's winner was Jordan Ahrens, with a time of 16:07.

Joshua Thomas - Canajoharie Fitness Center Director Kim Hayes (left) signs in Turkey Trot attendees with Aleah Schaffer assisting.

Joshua Thomas - Turkey Trot attendees listen to rules prior to exiting the Canajoharie High School to run a 1.5 or 3 mile course.

Joshua Thomas - 11th Annual Turkey Trot attendees start off just after 10 a.m. Saturday morning.


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