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Graced with sunny skies an ideal temperatures, a record number of runners banded together on Thanksgiving morning to help those less fortunate in their time of need.

With 209 participants, Turkey Trot 2017 - hosted by the Farmington Parks and Recreation Department - helped raise needed funds for the Farmington OAKS Senior Center and their meals program.

“We really had a great turnout this year,” said Jake LaHay, aquatic and fitness coordinator. “The first year we started we only had 16 people, and then last year we had 120 participants. We have seen a tremendous amount of growth over the last couple of years.”

According LaHay, part of the growth came from some adjustment to the scheduling of the race and combining two races that were close together into one run.

“Part of the success was combining the Halloween 5k and the Turkey Trot together,” LaHay said. “We also moved the race to Thanksgiving morning instead the weekend before or after, and surprisingly we saw a lot more people. I don’t know if it’s because more people are in town, but changing it really made a difference.”

In addition to the day of the race being changed, the course was also moved downtown last year from the previous location at Engler Park.

“We have had a lot of compliments on our course,” LaHay said. “I think people like the downtown course much better than Engler Park. It is relatively flat and it’s a course that a lot of runners already know.”

As runners began showing up, a sense of camaraderie was obvious as many of the runners were running with a friend or a loved one.

“We did our first run together in July,” said Jaiden Grimes, who was running with her friend, Claire Busse. “We wanted to do another race together before winter set it.”

While others were bonding with friends as they ran through downtown, others were using the Turkey Trot for an experiment.

“We do mostly obstacle courses,” said Renee Cook, who was there with her husband. “I want to see how well I did in a traditional 5k race.”

A new addition to the pre-race warm up this year was the introduction to the Pound, a percussion-based aerobics class utilizing rock music and drum sticks.

“Pound went really well,” said LaHay said. “We just started handing out drumsticks and kept it going until everyone who wanted to try had one. Lindsey Neel, our instructor, is really great for this class.”

The day's top finishers for men's overall were Alex Waggoner with a finish of 18:50.09, Gage DeBlois with a finish of 19:35.61 and Sammy Wileman with a finish of 19:58.93

In the women's division, the top finishers were Danielle Carron with a finishing time of 21:48.56, Kassandra Ramos with 21:51.51 and Peyton Galt with a finishing time of 24:23.09.

For more information about classes or other activities, contact the Farmington Civic Center at 756-0900.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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