As the story goes, 45 years ago, or so, John Keeshan and about a dozen of his friends gathered at the traffic circle in Montauk on Thanksgiving Day, ran out about 11 miles to Deep Hollow Ranch and back, and thus an annual tradition was born.
Montauk’s “Run For Fun” Turkey Trot, which is thought to be one of the longest running of its kind on Long Island, and well attended by runners from all over the East End, returns as a live event this Thanksgiving Day after being virtual last year due to the pandemic. The 45th annual race, coordinated by the East Hampton Town Recreation Department, will include its usual 6-mile and 3-mile races around Fort Pond, but it will continue to have the virtual option for those who are out of town and would still like to participate.
The live races are expected to begin at 10 a.m.
“For a lot of folks, it’s a family tradition,” East Hampton Town Superintendent of Recreation John Rooney said a week before the race. “I know as of the end of last week, we had about 200-plus already signed up online, and we’re still a week away, so it looks good in terms of having another good race.”
There was a record turnout in 2019, the last time the races were held live. Nearly 850 people registered and about 100 less than that actually descended upon Montauk to participate. While Rooney and his crew aren’t expecting numbers to be that high this year after basically a year off, he did mention that 600 T-shirts were ordered for those who show up early.
One thing that is different for this year’s event, and something Rooney stressed, is that there is no day-of registry, it is all online. As noted on the race website, turkeyday.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=8420, online registration will close at 7 a.m. Thanksgiving Day morning and participants will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within the last 48 hours. And it’s encouraged to bring a mask for when crowds are unavoidable, especially at the starting line.
All proceeds, after race-day expenses, will go to local food pantries such as the Montauk Food Pantry, East Hampton Food Pantry, Springs Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels. There is a link at the bottom of the race website for those who aren’t interesting in running but would like to donate to the food pantries.