As the snow was pelting down and power outages were being experienced by thousands of folks across Southern New Hampshire on Thanksgiving, concerns were raised about whether or not the 41st annual Greater Derry Track Club (GDTC) Turkey Trot 5K Road Race would take place last Thursday, Nov. 27.
But the race’s tradition and the overall tradition of New Englanders weathering all kinds of storms were maintained, and 706 runners managed to cover the course – around Beaver Lake in Derry – to its finish.
That number was down from the 2013 tally of 1,248 line-crossers, but the performances and times were still impressive.
Derry 21-year-old Kevin McMahon won the race in a time of 16 minutes and 6 seconds, a year after finishing second to former Keene State College and Pinkerton Academy star runner Peter Najem (15:58 to 15:59) in the 2013 Turkey Trot.
Former PA running star and Hampstead resident Amy Bernard – who coaches girls’ cross-country and teaches at the Derry school – successfully defended her 2013 title by finishing first among the women and 14th overall in this year’s race with a time of 18:48. That winning time was an improvement on last year’s effort for the 36-year-old, who was 23rd overall last November with a time of 18:50.
Bernard may also be remembered by Londonderry folks as the lady who has won the Londonderry Old Home Day Race’s women’s titles each of the last two summers.
The top Londonderry finishers in the Turkey Trot were 20-year-old collegian and former Londonderry High star runner Andreas Geiger (ninth overall, 16:56) and another ex-LHS standout runner, Makayla D’Urso (63rd overall, 22:41). Wheaton College undergrad Geiger was the talented runner who won the 2014 Londonderry Old Home Day Race in August.
All in all, there were 279 race finishers from Derry and 74 from Londonderry, with seven Derry racers walking away with age group championships and prizes for their efforts in the cold. Makayla D’Urso was the lone Londonderry racer to take an age-group title, doing so in the females’ 15-19 class.
Victorious racers McMahon and Bernard and their fellow runners toughed out the cold and had to deal with the fact that they were in danger of being hit by ice and snow falling from the trees above the course.
Despite the winter weather during the 24 hours prior to the annual Thanksgiving race, runners from 16 states – including all of New England – still took part this year. The longest distance traveled was by several racers from Copenhagen, Denmark.
One of Amy Bernard’s Pinkerton cross-country runners – 15-year-old Samantha Mangano – was the first Derry female across the finish line in 37th place overall (20:46).
Among Derry’s divisional champs were Stryker Coyle in the 1-14-year-old males’ grouping (19:39); Kristen Harrington in the 20-29 female class (20:56); Maria Checket in the females’ 40-49 division (25:00); Carolyn Morgenstern in the ladies’ 50-59 grouping (24:21); Steven Brigham in the males’ 60-69 class (26:52), and William Manning in the mens’ 70-99 division (36:46).