Ready. Set. Trot.

Little Victories’ annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot fundraiser has become a Huntington tradition.

By Shelly Betz

Since 2007, Little Victories Animal Rescue’s Turkey Trot has provided the community an opportunity to combat holiday calories and spend time with family and friends while also raising awareness, funds and supplies for the organization’s no-kill shelter.

“It’s a 5K fun run/walk held on Thanksgiving Day in Ritter Park,” says event organizer Patty Jennings. “However, it is as much a huge, festive party as a competition. You don’t need to be a track star or competitive runner to participate. It’s a great way to start off the holiday. It has become a Huntington Thanksgiving tradition.”

Jennings orchestrated the event after participating in a similar race.

“My family participated in a Turkey Trot in the St. Louis area while visiting family at Thanksgiving in 2006,” she says. “It was so much fun that we wanted to sign up for a local turkey trot the following year. When we discovered that Huntington did not have one, we started our own.”

The inaugural Huntington Turkey Trot was the following year at Ritter Park.

“We put it together approximately one week before and had about 50 participants. It has grown ever since,” says Jennings. “We had around 120 participants the second year, 300 the third and 600 the fourth. In 2013, there were approximately 1,400-1,500 registered and around 1,165 finished. I want to have 2,000 registrants or more this year and urge everyone to come out.”

After the passing of Little Victories’ founder Sue Brown in 2013, the organization has been undergoing a transition.

“Though Little Victories has made many positive strides, it desperately needs the proceeds from the Huntington Turkey Trot to keep the shelter up and running,” says Jennings. Last year, the event raised approximately $24,000 plus pet food donations. “I would love to see the Huntington Turkey Trot raise $30,000 or more in 2014 and challenge the HQ readership to step up so that we can make that happen. I hope and expect that the 2014 Huntington Turkey Trot will be bigger and better than ever.”

The eighth annual Huntington Turkey Trot will be November 27 at Ritter Park. Registration is now open online and will remain open until the morning of the race at 8 a.m. The race begins at 9 a.m. and runs from the picnic shelter to the Memorial Arch at Seventh Street West. The cost is $25 (which includes a commemorative T-shirt) on or before November 19 and $30 after. Awards will be given for the top male and female finishers in each age division, as well as largest family, best costume, farthest traveled and largest pet food donation. There will also be a prize drawing for past participants.

To get involved, visit www.huntingtonturkeytrot.org or the Huntington Turkey Trot Facebook page. Registration sheets are available at the Huntington YMCA, Robert’s Running & Walking Shop, Jeff’s Bike Shop, the HIT Center, Brown Dog Yoga and the Marshall University Recreation Center or by emailing cavalierpj@aol.com.

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