New Turkey Trot Tradition
- story by Ellis Anderson
Last year in Bay St. Louis, more than 500 people started Thanksgiving Day off with a new family tradition: running and walking through the historic district of Bay St. Louis.
This year, the 5th annual Fit First Turkey Trot 5k and Fun Run on Thanksgiving day 2016 is expected to draw even more participants.
“It’s something fun – and healthy – to do as a family, before you sit down to eat 5000 calories,” says Helene Loiacano Johnson, laughing. She’s the local fitness guru who began the event five years ago.
Helene says that several extended families participate every year. One Baton Rouge group that spends Thanksgiving in Bay St. Louis each year usually shows up with about 15 family members.
Beach to Bayou
The event starts and ends on the grounds of the historic Depot in Bay St. Louis (1928 Depot Way, Bay St. Louis) on Thankgiving morning, November 24th. The cost for the 5k is $30 (pre-registered) and $35 (race day register) and $10 for the Fun Run (pre-register for either online now).
Those who haven’t preregistered online can do so at least one hour before start time. The 5k race starts at 8am, and the Fun Run at 8:45.
Both the certified 5k course and the one-mile Fun Run routes thread through the scenic historic district and along the beachfront before circling back to the Depot.
Awards will go to the First Overall Male and Female, First Overall Masters Male and Female and to the top three finishers in the age groups. Everyone who crosses the finish line gets an event t-shirt.
Helene said that Friends of the Animal Shelter will have a booth set up at the depot and will be able to accept additional donations of pet food, treats and toys – as well as monetary donations.
Last year, the Turkey Trot raised $1500 for the non-profit, which helps with their programs like free or low-cost spay and neuter. In 2015, Friends spayed or neutered 782 dogs and cats at no cost to their owners.
“It benefits a good cause, it brings families together and it’s healthy,” says Helene. “It’s a feel-great way to start off the holiday season.”
Helene notes that volunteers are always needed and welcome – even for simple tasks like handing out waters and medals. To help, call Helene at 228-342-6038.