SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Thanksgiving may be a day for turkey and football, but for many in Shrewsbury, it's a time to slip into running shoes and take part in what's becoming an annual tradition. The Turkey Trot for the Memory, to be held Thanksgiving Day, aims to increase awareness of Alzheimer's Disease and raise funds for the Massachusetts/New Hampshire branch of the Alzheimer's Association.
This will be the second annual trot. Last year, 500 participants raised $14,000, according to race committee member Jane Lizotte. Only about 150 participants had been expected, she said.
"There were lots and lots of family and friends volunteering on a morning where they could have been sleeping and baking," Lizotte said.
The trot consists of a five mile — not a 3.1-mile 5K — run, plus a two-mile fun walk. The race starts at 8 a.m. at Heald & Chiampa funeral home at the Town Common, and ends at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church on Prospect Street.
The course follows the walking and running path preferred by Lizotte's late father, Francis P. O'Connor, who died five years ago due to complications from Alzheimer's. O'Connor, a retired Massachusetts Supreme Court justice, was 79 when he succumbed after battling Alzheimer's for eight years.
"My father loved the outdoors, and Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday because it brought people together," Lizotte said.
O'Connor would walk his route late into his battle with Alzheimer's, accompanied by his family. "As confused as he was then, he still brought his face up to the sun and would say, 'How blessed am I,'" Lizotte said.
Mary Beth Daly participated in last year's event, when she was pregnant. This year, she said she'll participate with her new daughter, Keegan, in a stroller.
"It's such a great cause," Daly said, "and what better way to start the day?"
Pre-registration is $20 and day-of registration is $25 for the five-mile run. A $5 donation is encouraged for the two-mile walk. Click here for more information and to download a registration form.
The Turkey Trot for the Memory Committee is: David and Jane Lizotte, Dana Canzano, Jim Heald, Glen Lucchese, Liam Davidson, and Amy Kotsolopoulus.