Run first, eat turkey second.
For more than 2,000 Long Islanders, that was their recipe for success this Thanksgiving as they worked up an appetite for their turkey dinners during the Townwide Fund of Huntington’s annual four-mile run on Thursday morning.
“It’s a Huntington family tradition,” said Jim Powers, the charity’s president. “We all come together for our community and we have plenty of time left for turkey.”
The charity run raised about $50,000, based on preliminary counts, for health and human services for Huntington Town residents. The four-mile route began at American Legion Post 360 on Mill Dam Road in Huntington and went along the waterfront of Huntington Harbor before racers finished back at the post.
The race also drew about 700 kids and their parents for a quick fun run. Huntington friends Madelyn Warywoda, 6, and 7-year-old twins, Bryce and Shea Gilroy, raced through the fun run with their families – their fathers would later run the four-miler — in anticipation of the main event: hot chocolate and pancakes at T.K.’s Galley restaurant across the street.
Their mothers, Kim Gilroy and Jenn Warywoda, said they’re trying to teach their kids how to live a balanced lifestyle.
Several racers said they were thankful this Thanksgiving that they were healthy enough to run.
“It’s a great time of year to really be thankful for everything we have,” said James Carino, 39, of Huntington.
Carino and his wife, Sara, 36, dressed up as pilgrims and turkeys with another couple. Other runners posed for pictures with them.
Racers Maria Guadron, 41, of Centerport; April Robles, 41, of Huntington Station; and Kimberly Hoskin, 41, of Huntington, have been friends since attending seventh grade at J. Taylor Finley Middle School in Huntington. This year, they and another friend, Peggy Dinkelman, 58, of Oakdale, wore plastic pilgrim hats as they ran.
“We’re chasing the turkeys,” joked Robles.
On a day when many Long Islanders start their morning watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, participants said they enjoyed a tradition that gets them outside and moving — particularly one that lets them eat turkey and pumpkin pie guilt-free later in the day.
“There will always be TV, there will always be a million electronic devices,” said Laura Leavy, 41, of Huntington, who ran the four-mile race with her twin sons, Peter and Teddy. “This is better for the soul.”
The first-place finishers were Jack Baisley, at 20 minutes and 49 seconds, and Katherine Sparling, at 23 minutes.