On Your Mark, Get Set, Trot!

Kathy Clayton

The Ashland Beacon


   As families and friends begin to gather for the holiday weekend, thoughts of the delicious feast to come are foremost in our minds. Before sitting down to the traditional Thanksgiving meal, many in the Russell area take part in another tradition – the 42nd annual, give or take a year, Turkey Trot 5K along the Ohio River.

   “The Russell Fellowship of Christian Athletes club has co-sponsored the Turkey Trot for nearly 25 years,” said Ruthie Lynd, FCA sponsor and a teacher at Russell High School. “While sponsorships have varied through the years, the goal has always been the same – to contribute to Helping Hands of Greenup County.”

   “Last year, approximately $4,000 was raised, the largest donation that has ever been given,” she said. “It was a huge success. With cash donations, Helping Hands can use it where they see the greatest need, whether it’s food, clothing or helping families with heat or electricity.” The race originally asked participants to bring food donations.

   Those interested can register via TristateRacer.com. The fee is $20 per person, and this year teams can register for $18 per person. Registration the day of the race is $25, but Lynd said only those who register through the website can be guaranteed a participant T-shirt. A group of students and faculty from RHS has registered a team under the name Chaffin’s Champions, honoring Principal Anna Chaffin. Lynd said this year’s theme at the high school is Be a Champion for Kids.

   Lynd said she has heard many comments over the years from those participating in the run: “I can eat an extra piece of pumpkin pie this year,” or “My cousins are coming from out of town to run it,” and even “I’m going to wear a turkey tutu and a hat.”

   She said the event really has become a ritual for many. “It’s a reunion of sorts for old high school friends as well. Some even create a theme such as honoring a lost loved one, or someone battling a disease,” Lynd noted. “We’ve had people who use this as a challenge after preparing to run a 5K through one of the popular ‘couch to 5K’ plans.”

   Russell Mayor Ron Simpson is considered one of the founders of the Turkey Trot, and is one of several who has competed almost every year, according to Lynd.

   “When we donate to this cause, we are reminded that people are hungry and cold and in need throughout the year, not just the holidays,” she said. “The generous amount raised last year helped many families, well into the new year. We are reminded of the verse from ‘As you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.’”

   “We’ll gather in front of the Russell Senior Center, rain or shine,” she said, noting that pets and children in strollers are always welcome. For more information on the Turkey Trot, contact John or Ruthie Lynd at RHS, 606.836.9658.