Turkey trotters hoof it for education foundation

11th annual 5K brings runners from near and far

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  • The Salt Shakers pose for a group portrait before the start of the 5K. The team represents Salt Gastro Pub located in Stanhope, New Jersey. Photos by George Leroy Hunter, unless otherwise noted

  • Four year old Sparta Township resident Katie Peterson and her three year old American Staffordshire Terrier Lily dressed as a turkey pose after participating in the fun run.

  • Between mascots are Turkey Trot co-chairs Kylen Anderson, left, a member of the Sparta Board of Education, and Dorothey LeBeau, SEF past president Photo courtesy of SEF

  • And they're off -- the start of the 5K.

  • Jaime Degroat of Port Jervis, New York pushes a stroller of little ones along the course of the 5K.

  • Walkers and their dogs move along the course.

  • Krogh's Restaurant & Brew Pub, title sponsor of the event

  • Twenty two year old Blake Digiaimo of Newton, N.J. crosses the 5K finish line with a time of 17:19.6. Digiaimo finished third out of 1954 runners.

  • Top finishers in the 5K were from left Blake Digiaimo of Newton, N.J.(3rd), Chris Dugan of Sparta, N.J. (1st), Liam McHale of Harrisonville, N.J. (2nd) and Sam Tooley of Sparta, N.J. (4th) out of 1954 runners.

  • Forty six year old Anita Dematto (314) of Hackettstown, New Jersey crosses the 5K finish line. Dematto's time was 26:53.4 and she finished 427 out of 1954 runners.

  • Runners make their way along the 5K course on East Shore Trail.

  • The Gobblin' Gallagher's from left are Emily Gallagher, Corey Gallagher and Molly Gallagher of Morgantown, West Virginia. They were among several groups that participated as teams.

  • Gavin Deyoung of Tranquility, N.J. finishes the 5K in ninth place with a time of 18:13.

  • Fifty two year old Lee Toussaint of Milford, Pennsylvania crosses the 5K finish line with a time of 18:58.5. Toussaint finished 15th.

  • Dressed in a turkey costume twenty year old Carole Harsch of Randolph, N.J. finished in 31st place. with a time of 20:06.3.

  • Seventy year old walker Millie Browne of Sparta raises her water bottle in triumph in the midst of crossing the finish line during the 5K.

  • With Lake Mohawk as a backdrop the O'Brien family and their dogs of Sussex County, New Jersey pose for a post run portrait. From left are Timothy, Olivia, Jonathan, Alexandra, Susan, Terence, Victoria, Elizabeth and "Aunt" Judy Soltis.

SPARTA — Krogh’s Turkey Trot marked its 11th anniversary in Lake Mohawk on a bright, chilly Thanksgiving morning with thousands of enthusiastic runners and spectators filling White Deer Plaza. This popular fundraiser for The Sparta Education Foundation (SEF) is known as “The Tradition Before the Tradition,” as an 8:45 am start leaves plenty of time to prepare and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to the main run, a one-mile Fun Run kicked off at 8:15 am. Well over 2,100 runners participated in the events.

The 5K course on East Shore Trail started and ended at White Deer Plaza in front of Krogh’s Restaurant and Brew Pub with views of Lake Mohawk along the way. Finishing in first place was Chris Dugan of Sparta with a time of 16:46, followed by Liam McHale of Harrisonville at 16:53. In third place was Blake Digiaimo of Newton at 17:19. Among the female runners, Nicole Attas of Hopatcong was the champion with a time of 18:26. Corinne Fitzgerald of New York City was second at 19:38, and Stephanie Peterson of Newton was third, running 19:52.

The Turkey Trot enjoys a picture-perfect location and pre-run festivities including the Pasta Party for all registered runners catered by Villa Capri II on Wednesday night at Lake Mohawk Country Club. The Turkey Trot was directed by Sabrina Lucas and co-chaired by Kylen Anderson, a member of the Sparta Board of Education, and Dorothy LaBeau, trustee and past president of the Sparta Education Foundation. Scores of local volunteers kept things running smoothly, and Sparta High School junior Ryden Mederos sang the national anthem before the race. Sparta School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Rossi, who also ran in the 5K, was the official race starter. Additionally, the SEF hosted a food drive, collecting non-perishable donations to benefit the Sparta Ecumenical Food Pantry.

Turkey Trot sponsors include Title Sponsor Krogh’s Restaurant and Brew Pub; Gold Sponsor ThorLabs; Bib Sponsor Eastern Propane; Goody Bag Sponsor Realty Executives; Leaderboard Sponsor Spavia. Silver Level Sponsors are Culligan (Andy Ball), Villa Capri II, Lake Mohawk Country Club, Krave Events Caterer, Fraser Cerra LLC Attorneys at Law, Wellness Pediatrics, Pine Cone Chiropractic, Drayer Physical Therapy Institute, Dykstra Associates, Newton Memorial Hospital Foundation/Atlantic Health, Duphiney Financial Network, Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA), Integrity Dental of Sparta, Biondo Investment Advisors, SchoolCraft Studios, Staff at Sparta Township Schools, Coldwell Banker Julia “Julie” Killen and Sharpe Plumbing and Heating. Since 2006, the Sparta Education Foundation has funded over $895,000 in grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools. The Foundation is an all-volunteer, independent 501 (c) (3) NJ Non-Profit Corporation whose mission is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving. Visit spartaeducationfoundation.org for more information about joining or volunteering.

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