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First-ever turkey trot a new tradition for Catskill families

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    Lexy Funk, of Athens, and Jill Ursprung Larson, of Boston, both took part in the inaugural Catskill 5K Turkey Trot on Main Street Thursday before taking part in their families’ Thanksgiving festivities.
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    The Buzon family of New Hampshire was visiting family in Athens and decided to take part in the inaugural Catskill 5K Turkey Trot. Pictured are Beau, Michael, Esme and Stephanie Buzon.
November 24, 2017 12:08 am

CATSKILL — Families came out in droves, some sporting turkey hats, in the hopes of burning a few calories before their first (and second and third) helping of dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

The Catskill Turkey Trot is a 5K Run/Walk and one of dozens of turkey trots held around the country on Thanksgiving Day.

Races have become so popular, fundraisers in Catskill decided to host their own for the first time this year.

The 3.1-mile race began at the traffic light on Main Street and coursed to the end of the Main Street near Dutchmen’s Landing and back, cutting through the East Side Historic District, past the Beattie-Powers Place and then finished on Water Street.

“I think it’s so popular because it is that about having a little less guilt when you reach for that second helping of stuffing,” Todd Whitley, one of the organizers, said at the finish line Thursday.

Catskill’s Turkey Trot was hosted by the Friends of Beattie-Powers, which raises funds to maintain the building and programs on behalf of the park/venue for lectures and musical events.

“We are 100 percent volunteer,” said Whitley, a 12-year board member of the Friends of Beattie-Powers. “So the board members and a small group of people make it all happen. We’re very grateful for that and there are over 20 events the (venue) hosts a year.”

Proceeds from the race benefit Beattie-Powers Place.

“We were looking for new ways to generate excitement about what we’re doing and raise funds at the same time and turkey trots are very popular,” Whitley said.

In 2016 nearly a million people in the U.S. participated in turkey trots last year before indulging in turkey, pie and all the fixings, according to Running USA, a nonprofit organization that tracks racing trends.

Fifty runners registered for Catskill’s trot, Whitley said.

But chances are racers are not burning off a huge amount of calories after participating in trots.

The average American consumes upwards of 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, according to the Calorie Control Council, but the average person only works off about one-tenth of that while running a 5K.

But the race isn’t just about burning calories, Whitley said.

“It is also a really great family activity,” Whitley said. “This is a wonderful family holiday and this is a nice family event. It is no surprise it’s a popular event across America and it really brings families together.”

The Buzon family from New Hampshire, including children Beau and Esme, and father and mother, Michael and Stephanie, all participated in the race Thursday.

“We have family that we are staying with in Athens,” Stephanie Buzon said. “We’re planning on a big dinner with family later.” For many, it’s a chance to create a new holiday tradition.

Jill Ursprung Larson lives in Boston, but she grew up Catskill. Thursday was a chance for her to relive fond memories and create new ones in her hometown.

“I grew up here and my aunt sent me the link and I wanted to support the Beattie-Powers House,” she said. For the rest of the day, she plans to “eat with the family and just enjoy being in Catskill.”

Lexy Funk of Athens said she would definitely participate if the race was held next year. She said it was something for her to do before she picks up her son who is skiing at Hunter Mountain before they enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

“It feels great to have to have events like this here in Catskill that are really rejuvenating the community and to see a whole bunch of people running through the streets is really enjoyable,” Funk said.

She also wanted to support Beattie-Powers.

“My mom lives two doors down from Beattie-Powers,” she said. “So we go there all the time.’

Finish Line Winners:

Jon Wilgus, First Place.

Brendan Nevens, Second Place.

Brendan Recchia, Third Place.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.