Turkey Trot in Greensburg is for runners of all feathers

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Before sitting down to that filling Thanksgiving dinner, you may want to start the morning with a little exercise by running or walking in the 22nd annual Greensburg Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.

Open to all ages, the 5K event begins at 9 a.m. at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, 2 N. Main St. in Greensburg. Serious, competitive and casual runners and walkers are welcome to participate in this fundraiser that helps a number of nonprofits. These include Big Brothers Big Sisters, which gets the majority of the funding; the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Seton Hill University -- in memory of late president JoAnne Boyle who died Nov. 1 -- the Greensburg Fire Department and the Welcome Home homeless shelter of Greensburg.

Fees acquired by the registration of dogs accompanying racers will go to the Second Chance Equine Association and a local Humane Society.

Registration is $25 per person and $10 for dogs on leashes accompanying runners/walkers.

Last year, the Turkey Trot had more than 2,100 runners/walkers and grossed $53,000. After expenses, the sponsor, Westmoreland Community Sharing. was able to donate about $30,000 to local charities, noted organizer Carol Palcic.

Every entrant receives a commemorative long-sleeved T-shirt.

To register, go to www.gbgturkeytrot.com. Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. in the courthouse and closes at 8:30 a.m.

Pre-registrants should pick up their packets before race day. They are available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Big Brothers Big Sisters, 106 N. Main St. in Greensburg, and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. that day in the courthouse lobby.

Participants can race as individuals or as part of a family, school or corporate/business team. Trophies will be awarded in a number of categories. A special Clydesdale Award goes to the winning entrant in the over-200 pound category.

During packet pickup or before the race, tickets will be on sale for the Black and Gold Raffle of Steelers and Penguins memorabilia, held immediately after the race.

A group of "lunchtime runners" started the Turkey Trot in 1991. They are Mark Sorice of Ligonier, Bill McLaughlin of Smithton, Gail and Barry Bupp, Larry Breitenstein, Alan Yuvan, Keith Houser, Walt Sedlock and Ed Malanowski, all from Greensburg.

The first race in 1991 drew 200 and raised $2,000. This year, organizers are hoping to raise $50,000.

"The race has become a Thanksgiving tradition for so many,'' Mrs. Palcic said. "It is a mini reunion for many in town for the holiday."

Details: 724-836-5310.

Dave Zuchowski, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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