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Windham Turkey Trot
The Windham Turkey Trot is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization -
The Windham Turkey Trot began in 1995 as a benefit for The Shepherd's Food Pantry, and as a way to have a fun community event, while burning off a few calories before the Thanksgiving feasting began. We started with 50 people from our neighborhood. The original slogan was, "Late enough to get the turkey in the oven, quick enough to get back to baste it!" :-)
We have two different courses, 3 miles and 5 miles that meander through the Windham, NH's Blossom Road neighborhood, starting at 9:00 am Thanksgiving morning. Participants run, walk, bike, rollerblade, roll their wheelchair or are pushed and pulled in strollers and wagons. Individuals and families with their visitors, ranging from 3 weeks to 96 years, have made the Turkey Trot part of their Thanksgiving tradition. We trot regardless of weather conditions.
Our group of 50 trotters has grown to over 1300. We collected food in 1995 & 1996. In 1997 we began to ask for monetary donations; 100% of which was given to the Shepherd's Food Pantry until 2010. We then began sharing proceeds with Windham Helping Hands, another worthwhile charitable organization. In 2011 we added Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County as a beneficiary; a local organization helping to provide temporary housing for homeless families.
The cost to participate in the Turkey Trot is a monetary donation; the amount is up to each participant. We don't want to prevent people from joining the fun because they can't afford the typical registration fee of $30 that comes with most races. This is especially true since some groups show up with as many as 15 family members who are in town for the holiday. As a result, our typical donation has a wide range - from $10 to an amazing $500. As of 2016 we have raised $217,856 for charity. We pride ourselves on the fact that no event expenses are taken from the donations received. 100% of each contribution goes to local charities. Event expenses are covered by our generous sponsors.
The Turkey Trot is a totally unofficial race, though there are mile markers,and water at the finish. The official timer is our kitchen clock on a step ladder. Some people are intimidated at the thought of participating in a "race"; the reality is that only about 30% of trotters actually run.
Once people come to the Trot they usually keep coming. Everyone has a great time; friends and neighbors chat while strolling around the neighborhood, returning college students enjoy a mini reunion with friends, younger children like biking among the excitement, and we always see some impressively competitive runners.