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Turkey Trot participants run to help special needs children

November 7, 2007

Huddled outside in the cold, in running shorts at 9 a.m. Saturday, were the participants of the ninth annual Turkey Trot. The five-mile run is organized by the Health and Human Performance Department of UW-River Falls. A one-mile walk also took place.

Health and Human Performance students Christine Peters and Tiffany Gardner helped promote and plan the run for the Sports Management class. Gardner is on the UWRF cross-country team and has participated in the run for the past two years. Peters was the co-director of the run.

“We hope everyone has fun,” Peters said.

Health and Human Performance professor Deb Allyn is teaching the Sports Management class that helped organize the run.

The goal for the class is to “plan, implement and administer recreational events.”

The history of the turkey trot goes back 100 years when it was a part of intramurals. Nine years ago, the sports management class took over the event, Allyn said.

Despite the cold, the participants in this year’s turkey trot were upbeat and ready to run.

Ann, Molly and Katie Staelen came well prepared for the event wearing real turkey feathers on their backs. They participated in the run last year and were excited for this year’s run. Ann Staelen was eager to participate in the event.

“The run benefits special needs children, and I work with special needs kids,” Staelen said.

Other participants had their own reasons for participating.

“We did the run for ourselves and for health,” Missy Murphy, a River Falls resident, said.

Andy Engel, a senior at UWRF, participated in the run because he wanted to see if he could still run as well as he did in high school.

“It was nice to see some of the campus, but my brother beat me by a minute or two,” Engel said.

The first person to finish the run was Jason Phillippi, a Health and Human Performance major. Phillippi finished the run in 16:16. This is about average time for him, according to Phillippi. Phillippi has been on the UWRF track and cross country teams in the past.

“The course was nice in fact but it was pretty cold, its about 38 degrees outside,” Phillippi said.

There were about 55 participants that pre-registered for the event. Registration fees ranged from $12 to $18, depending on the participant’s age and when they registered. All participants received a long-sleeved t-shirt.

After the run, frozen turkeys and other prizes were raffled off.

The proceeds of the run and walk went to the Y Partners, a YMCA scholarship program for youth.

“Funds raised through Y Partners assure that no one is ever turned away from YMCA membership and programs due to financial need,” according to the YMCA Web site.

Y Partners provides financial assistance and subsidies to members of the public who cannot afford memberships or programs.