WESTFIELD, NJ — Alex Livernois finished the 5 Mile Turkey Trot with a time of 26:19.6. He was the first place finisher.
At his pace of 5:15 per mile, the 23-year-old from Scotch Plains burned nearly 700 calories during his time on the course at Tamaques Park Saturday, a running calorie calculator from Runners World shows.
“I just had to stay strong by myself,” said Livernois, shortly after crossing the finish line. “I’m happy with the way I fought and stayed in there.”
Livernois was among 832 people to complete the 34th annual 5 Mile Turkey Trot & Practice Hard Mile, the race results show. Of those people, 345 completed the Practice Hard mile, a race that has become a family tradition for many in Westfield. Hundreds of spectators attended. Many donned hats in the shape of turkeys.
Race Director Tears Smith said she most enjoys seeing the people who come to the race year after year. While the 5-miler is the main event, the mile-long race is a key component for families.
“Whereas many other miles are just a smaller event, here all the families are coming out — people who aren’t real runners but want to come out with their kids. … It gives them something to do as a family while they’re celebrating the holidays,” Smith said.
Westfield’s Dunham family, with four children ranging age from 8 to 16, could be found decked out in red winter caps celebrating after the mile run, including with a family pile-on.
Melissa Dunham said that three nieces and nephews were visiting and the family came out to Tamaques Park to get warmed up early.
It was a strategy that paid off as several of the family members earned medals in the race. And while medals were appreciated, for at least one in the family it was the experience that mattered most.
“It’s a fun thing to do every year,” said Evan Dunham, 14, who placed first in his age group. “It’s fun to come out and see everyone else.”
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh