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Trotting for hunger: Thanksgiving 5K proceeds go to Helping Hands

RUSSELL, Ky. — Some people will spend Thanksgiving morning preparing a bounty for their family and friends, while others will be getting up early to help make sure others will have food.

The goal of the annual Turkey Trot 5K run/walk on Thanksgiving morning in Russell, Kentucky, is reflected in its unofficial motto “Let’s hit the streets to help others eat!” with the proceeds from the 5K going towards helping others by donating to Helping Hands store and agency in Greenup, Kentucky.

Turkey Trot organizer Ruthie Lynd said the event started 40 years ago.

“There were some avid runners back in the 70s who wanted to get together to get some exercise and wanted to help, since it was Thanksgiving Day, they wanted to give to a food pantry” she said. “We kept it going and it just got bigger and bigger, which is a great problem to have. So, we made it an official 5K and all the proceeds go to Helping Hands in Greenup County. So, it goes back to kids and families in our area.”

She said that one of the original Turkey Trotters, Russell, Kentucky Mayor Ron Simpson, still takes part every year.

“Helping Hands helps provide clothes, food and heat to people who are in need,” Lynd said. “Last year, we were able to give them close to $4,000 to Helping Hands and we have never been able to give that much before. So, it is a win-win.”

Lynd said that for many the event has become both their traditional start to the Thanksgiving holiday and a way to enjoy some friendly competition to help out a good cause. Lynd teaches health at Russell High School and often sees her former students at the 5K.

“It is just a lot of fun. People dress up in Thanksgiving hats or tutus.

Pets and strollers are welcome,” Lynd said. “There are a lot of families, so it is a reunion of sorts. It is really just neat.”

Racers will gather on Nov. 28 at the Russell Senior Center, just down the road from the SuperQuik in downtown Russell. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the 5K begins at 9 a.m.

Registration is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the race. You can register online at tristateracer.com.