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Turkey Trot’s Winning Tradition Reaching Finish Line

November 16, 2018 GMT

FITCHBURG -- Slattery’s 5-mile Turkey Trot will come to an end Sunday after 38 years, and organizers are out for a big finish.

“At 38 years, we’ve hit the life expectancy,” said Race Director Mark Ambrose. “Our race has been great for Fitchburg. ... Our race along with our scholarships has given positive press to the city.”

The Turkey Trots begins at Slattery’s Restaurant and goes through Fitchburg State University’s campus, along Ashby State Road and John Fitch Highway. It’s the same route that has been in place since the race began in 1981.

Ambrose, a former runner, brought the idea to the restaurant’s former owners, who agreed to sponsor the race if he ran it. He has been working with owner Dave Celuzza over the years.

They pointed to a declining number of participants as a reason why they decided to end the Turkey Trot.

The Sunday race starts at 11:30 a.m. for walkers, noon for kids races, and 1 p.m. for runners.

Prizes of $400 will be given to the first place man and woman, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place. There will also a $100 prize for masters men and women.

The top two men and women from each age group who don’t win money will receive turkeys.

Divisions for the race are 19 and under, 20-39, 40-59, and 60 and over.

Over the years, between a couple hundred and a thousand people have participated in the race, Celuzza said. A similar number have attended to watch the runners.

Runners from colleges around New England, amateurs and professionals have participated in the race, he said.

Proceeds from the race will go to scholarships for area high school students to attend college.

One boy and one girl from Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg, Monty Tech, Oakmont Regional, and North Middlesex Regional high schools will receive $1,000 each.

“It means a lot,” Celuzza said. “A thousand dollars goes a long way and means something.”

The race’s sponsors include IC Federal Credit Union, HealthAlliance Hospital, Ron Bouchard’s Auto Stores, Research Results, Girardi Distributors, Select Engineering Co., and Avidia Bank.

On Thursday, they gathered for a last picture together at Slattery’s. Celuzza and Ambrose thanked them for their support over the years with race infrastructure and the scholarships.

To walk or run in the Turkey Trot, there is a $30 registration fee that is due Saturday. On the day of the race, registration is $35. Visit the link to register: www.lightboxreg.com/slatterys_2018

The first 750 people who register will receive a T-shirt.

Early bib pickup for race day will be Saturday at the restaurant from noon to 4 p.m.

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