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Burn off that bird

Local events let people run, walk or dance away those Thanksgiving calories

The Bethlehem Turkey Trot is a low-key community race that benefits the local food pantry and burns off some calories leading up to the big meal.

The Bethlehem Turkey Trot is a low-key community race that benefits the local food pantry and burns off some calories leading up to the big meal.

— With Thanksgiving a few days away, some people are looking for ways to keep themselves off the couch and the calories at bay.

For those not busy prepping the bird, many organizations in the area have begun offering a new holiday tradition: exercise. These days, an increasing number of families are opting to take part in annual Turkey Trot races over sitting home and watching the parade.

The largest Turkey Trot in the region remains the event held each year in Troy, but for the past four years a smaller race has been held in Bethlehem.

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Submitted photo

This will be the second year Judy Lasher will be holding a 90-minute Zumba session in Slingerlands on Thanksgiving morning.

“At first, we thought we were going to be taking people away from Troy, but actually their numbers are bigger than ever,” said John Guastella of Our Towne Bethlehem, who organizes the event each year. “I think more people want to get physically fit.”

The race is held to benefit the Bethlehem Food Pantry. Additional money raised through registration fees also goes toward the Bethlehem Community Fund and the Parker Mathusa Community Service Scholarship Fund at the High School. Thousands of dollars have been raised for those three organizations over the past four years.

“People care where the money is going because it stays in town,” said Guastella. “Take care of where you live first, and then branch out.”

The event is a 5-kilometer run or walk and starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28. Registration costs $20, and awards are given for the top male and female overall runners and best costumes. About 2,000 people participate in the race each year.

Guastella said so many people were signing-up for the race the night before the event, last year they decided to do a fireworks display with the help from the town and school district. The fireworks will happen once again on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. sponsored by ShopRite Supermarkets.

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