Turk-EA Trot 2021

East Aurora’s own turkey trot was a go this year, and a huge success it was!

We had 355 runners, up from 160 two years ago! (We did not hold the race last year due to COVID.)

This year, we moved into the ‘big leagues’ with an actual race-management company and online registration. Boy, did it make a difference! Two years ago, I handled all the pre-registration BY HAND. We didn’t have a website; we simply had fliers in local shops and runners were able to drop off or mail registration forms to my house. Race Management Solutions, highly recommended by a fellow runner friend, made planning and executing this race SIMPLE. I needed a little hand-holding this year, the first time I dealt with online registration and a higher participant number, and Paul provided incredible customer service. I’m already looking forward to working with him again!

‘Many hands make light work,’ and nothing is more true of an event like this. I’m so thankful to have had so many willing and capable volunteers, mostly friends from running group. I absolutely could not make this happen on my own.

Maelle and Andrew joined me later that morning at the Boys and Girls Club just as the race was getting started. As the runners began their race, I finally had a moment to sit down!

Costumes are encouraged, and the ‘chef family’ won the best costume prize this year. Historically, I’ve given prizes (beer tokens, homemade pumpkin bread and dollar-store Thanksgiving decorations) to the first male and female across the line. However, as our winners are typically in high school, I discontinued the adult beverage prize, and we offered age-group awards this year. I think there is more work to be done in the awards category (what kind/how many/when to present?), but I liked having more awards than before.

While we’re still working on our ‘non-profit’ status, our group exists to run, have fun, and give back to the community. Two years ago, as a thank-you for allowing us to use the facility, we gave some of our proceeds to the Boys and Girls Club. This year, we were able to give them $5,500! Let’s just say Gary, the club’s director, almost fell over when he saw the check. In future years, we’re hoping to be able to ‘share the love’ and give to another organization, while still donating a chunk to the club.

One of the EA Runners members is a graphics guy, and he designed the presentation check for us! The UPS Store here in town graciously donated the printing and laminating (thank you!), so we can use it again and again.

My ‘little’ race has grown so much! I’m humbled by how everyone’s faith (and hard work) in my idea has yielded such a great event for our community.

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