Family of New Paltz Hosts 14th Turkey Trot

New Paltz hosted their 14th annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, with one of SUNY New Paltz’s Physics and Astronomy professor’s placing in the top of her age group.

For many people, Thanksgiving is a time for embodying laziness, unless you’re cooking or on dishwashing duty. If you were at Water Street Market early Thanksgiving morning, you probably weren’t one of these people.

The Family of New Paltz held its 14th annual Turkey Trot this year. The 5k run through New Paltz is the Family of New Paltz’s biggest fundraiser, and this year was the biggest in its history. 

The Turkey Trot event also featured a run called the “Mashed Potato Fun Run” for the children outside of the 5K run. Photo courtesy of Martin Weiner.

According to Family of New Paltz Program Director Ivan Echenique, over $30,000 was raised through registration fees, collected from a record 1,215 participants, and sponsorships from about 40 local businesses, each being granted a different sponsor status depending on how much they donated to the event. New Paltz Health & Nutrition Center and Kniffen Homes were recognized as founding sponsors for their contributions to the Turkey Trot in its beginning year.

Family volunteer Fonda Rothblatt told The New Paltz Times “That is a far cry from our first Turkey Trot when it seemed there were more pets than runners.”

The money will be used for the Family of New Paltz’s general services, such as its food pantry and free clothing store. The staff composed of two full-time employees and 25 volunteers, while offering crisis intervention services like emergency housing and a 24-hour hotline and textline. 

The Family of New Paltz is one of four Family locations, the others being in Ellenville, Kingston and Woodstock, all offering similar crisis intervention services.

The trot began at Water Street Market on Thanksgiving morning, 9:30 a.m. From there, runners and walkers were taken south down Water Street before turning onto Plains Road. They followed it to its end before stepping foot onto the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, turning around and taking it back to the finish line located right across the street from the trot’s start at Water Street Market.

1,033 of the 1,215 participants finished the race.

One of these finishers was SUNY New Paltz Physics and Astronomy professor Catherine Herne.

“It was a pleasant experience,” she said. “It was a nice crowd; there were more folks in the faster paced group. Except just stepping off the [starting] line, it was not a press. I only used my elbows once or twice.”

A long-time runner and first-time New Paltz Turkey Trotter, Herne finished 33rd overall, placing 6th out of 659 total women and 1st out of 117 women in her age group: 40-49.

Being accustomed to longer runs, she said she felt pleased with her performance.

Learning that her girlfriend’s family all participated in the trot, she decided that this was a good year to join. It helped that the race’s benefits were going to a good cause.

The 14th annual Turkey Trot had 1,215 participants on Thanksgiving Day. SUNY New Paltz professor Catherine Herne placed first in her age group. Photo courtesy of Martin Weiner.

In addition to the 5k, there was also the “Mashed Potato Fun Run,” an alternative half-mile run for children 12 and under. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., kids ran from the Turkey Trot’s finish line for a quarter-mile on the Rail Trail before turning around and coming back.

Awards were given based on placement in a runner’s age and gender categories. Other awards were given regardless of placement, such as the best costume award.

A raffle drawing was also held, with money raised from purchased tickets going to the Family of New Paltz.