SOMERVILLE, NJ - It wasn’t until the last few stragglers were crossing the finish line that Kristen Wawrzyniak paused for a minute to reflect on the resounding success of the borough’s inaugural Turkey Trot 5K race.
Close to 600 runners of all ages – including a few “turkeys” – laced up their sneakers Thanksgiving morning to compete, with over 100 signing up just prior to the race.
More than $10,000 was raised, money that will be spent on programs sponsored by the borough’s Recreation Department, according to Councilman Jason Kraska.
“I think it went really well,” Wawrzyniak said as several hundred runners and spectators milled around the finish line on Veterans Memorial Drive East near Engine Co. #1, where the race started and ended.
There were more than a few turkey costumes in the crowd, while other runners opted for turkey feather headbands and drumstick head gear.
Six months ago, Wawrzyniak, who was recently married and had just moved into the borough, approached Mayor Brian Gallagher with the idea of organizing a Turkey Trot 5K.
“Great idea,” Gallagher said yesterday, sipping from a water bottle as he cooled down after running the race.
Wawrzyniak, a special ed science teacher in Piscataway, went to work with Kraska and Kevin Sluka, borough clerk. She also had the enthusiastic support of her husband, borough chiropractor Dr. Christopher Wawrzyniak of Functional Health, 32 Roosevelt Ave. who agreed to sponsor the Turkey Trot 5K.
Borough police positioned barricades along the road course, which wound its way through neighborhoods in the southeastern corner of the borough.
Tyler Grimm, a 2012 graduate of Somerville High School, crossed the finish line first with a time of 14:29, far outdistancing the rest of the field; Gallagher was in the middle of the pack, turning in a time of 23:30.
The course was a bit short of the normal 5K distance which accounts for the faster times logged by each runner. Kraska said that will be corrected for next year's Turkey Trot.