By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Hundreds of road-racers are expected to turn out for the 37th annual Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, before filling their bellies with Thanksgiving treats.
“It’s the rationale that you can come out and run and then take that extra piece of pie later,” said race director Jim Ewell on Tuesday. “It may not exactly work out that way, but at least you feel good about it.”
The race, which is facilitated each year by the Greater Derry Track Club, will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday at Galliens Town Beach at the corner of Route 102 and Pond Road.
The nearly 2,000 anticipated participants will follow a 3.1-mile course around Beaver Lake in Derry, finishing back at the beach with an awards ceremony to follow at 9:30 a.m.
But Ewell said the race is for runners and walkers of all abilities.
“Some people have always been apprehensive about doing a road race because they think you have to be a good runner to do this, and we want to dispel that myth completely,” Ewell said. “We want to introduce families to running and for a lot of people, this is the only race they run the whole year.”
And as the race enters its 37th year, Ewell said many of the original young racers are now sharing the event with their own children.
“It’s all about tradition, and it’s a family thing,” Ewell said. “We’ve got kids and grandkids coming now because every Thanksgiving morning they say, ‘Let’s get dressed and go to Derry to run the race.’” Registration fees for adults are $13, or $17 to include a Tshirt and $3 for children under 11 years old.
Participants are also asked to bring canned goods to donate to local food pantries. All profits above and beyond the cost of putting on the race are donated to selected Derry area charities, Ewell said.
On-site registration and race packet pickup opens the night before the race, from 4 to 8 p.m. tonight at Galliens Town Beach. Ewell said he encourages local residents to swing by tonight to make it easier to process the large crowd on Thursday morning.
Parking is available on site, but buses will also be running from Pinkerton Academy lots to the race site from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday.
For more information, visit www.gdtc.org/turkeytrot.