HEUVELTON — A gray sky and temperatures around 40 degrees made for perfect weather for runners and walkers participating in the annual Heuvelton Gobbler Gallop on Thursday morning.
“Definitely one of our better ones,” race organizer Jacqueline Bill said about the conditions. “We’ve seen some things.”
The Gallop is a casual 5K run or walk that Ms. Bill has been organizing since 2010.
About 60 people participated this year.
The biggest crowd ever was 133, Ms. Bill said. In the first year there were just 17 participants.
Entry price for the race was two or more items of nonperishable food or a cash donation to area food banks.
Terri L. Persons, the coordinator of the food pantry at the Heuvelton United Methodist Church, was on hand for the start.
“I like to see all the people that turn out,” she said as she looked over the large table filled with donated food.
Food from the annual Thanksgiving Gobbler Gallop is one of the largest donations the food pantry gets each year, she said.
Patronage of the food pantry has been down during the pandemic, she said, but she still saw 22 families on November’s distribution day.
Ms. Bill keeps time while the walkers and runners are out on the course, but it is a formality.
People just want to get their steps in before their big meal, she said.
“There’s no overhead, no costs and no prizes,” she said.
The Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department provides a warm spot for participants before and after the run and does traffic control during the event.
Sisters Debbie McDonald, Lisa Whitcomb and Tina Pratt and Ms. Whitcomb’s wife, Bridget Beebe, were taking a selfie in front of an inflatable turkey in Pilgrim garb just before the start.
Ms. Whitcomb and Ms. Beebe are visiting from Delaware. The four women will have a four-day celebration that includes the Gobbler Gallop, pickle ball and a gingerbread house competition.
The gingerbread house competition is competitive, Ms. Whitcomb said. There is a prize, usually a gnome, and friends judge the creations on Facebook.
Runners were making their way to the start line right up until the last minute, some with dogs, some with baby strollers, some carrying bags of food, others envelopes with checks.
“It’s not our biggest crowd,” Ms. Bill said. “But it might be our biggest donation.”