I am a proud resident of Windham, NH, and have been since 2013. Not that I ever lived all that far away. I am a New England girl through and through. I’ve lived only in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.
For me, there’s something about the change of seasons, a hearty (pronounced “hah-tee”) Boston accent, and a wicked good clam chowder (“chow-dah”) that does it for me.
This will be my third year registering for the Windham Turkey Trot (unfortunately, I was injured last year and could not run), and although I have had the choice of either a 3- or 5-mile route through the streets of this suburban town of 13,500, I usually stick with the 5K. I plan to up the ante this year.
Come Thanksgiving morning, a giant clock is strapped onto the top of a ladder, and the crowd counts down to the start of the race. There are no race bibs, no official times, and no trophies to show off running (or walking or biking or rollerblading) prowess. Instead, a community simply gathers for a good cause.
It’s too easy to get caught up in what’s not going right, whether that’s in our personal lives or around the world. The truth is there’s also so much that is going right.
Do you have a family that loves you? Friends that support you? Are you in good health? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food to eat? Have you had the benefit of an education? Do you have a job?
Not everyone will have all of these things, but odds are you have at least some. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to slow down and take stock of all the good in your life. Even in our darkest days, there is always something to light the way.
Louise Peltz and Heidi Reever knew that more than most.
When it comes to the Windham Turkey Trot, all thanks go to these thoughtful women for starting the event back in 1995. They knew to appreciate their health as runners. They knew to appreciate their time together as friends. They knew to appreciate the wonderful town they lived in. They used that gratitude and shared it with everyone around them.
Now, what started as 50 runners coming together before their holiday feast has grown to more than 1,400 runners burning calories and making memories before the celebratory meal hits the table.
An annual race does not come together on its own. It takes the coordination and patience of its runners, and I don’t necessarily mean the people running IN the race. Sponsors have to be gathered, advertising and marketing efforts have to be planned, volunteers have to be gathered, and the event website needs to be updated. There are even some nifty T-shirts designed for the trot each year.
Most importantly, it is about charity.
At first, the Windham Turkey Trot gathered canned goods for donation from its participants. It has since become a 501c3 organization and accepts monetary donations, 100% of which go to local charities. As it has every year, the event will support Shepherd’s Pantry, a food pantry in Windham that assists needy families in southern New Hampshire. This year’s event will also support Windham Helping Hands, an organization that has literally helped senior citizens and families in need in so many ways since 2003. Please visit their websites to see how you can help.
I want to personally thank Louise Peltz and Heidi Reever for inspiring a community. By paying it forward, you have established a tradition in Windham that makes a real difference.