Londonderry High School cross-country standouts Josh Wasserman and Cam Dickson paced a big crowd of town residents who ran in the 42nd annual Greater Derry Track Club (GDTC) Turkey Trot 5K in Derry Thursday morning, Nov. 26.
A total of 170 Londonderry runners took part in the popular race – which drew a crowd of 1,143 this year after dropping to under 800 in snowy conditions on Thanksgiving morning last autumn – with Lancer stalwarts Wasserman and Dickson both finishing among the top 20 overall finishers.
A trio of skilled and determined young men – all barely in their 20’s – paced the crowd by finishing in the first through third overall positions.
Twenty-two-year-old Hooksett resident Sam Gagnon was the 2015 winner, crossing the finish line in 15 minutes and 42 seconds. The runner-up, crossing the finish line 15 seconds after the victor, was 2014 Turkey Trot champ and Derry 22-year-old Kevin McMahon. And in third was Salem 20-year-old Mitch Dutton, who crossed with a time of 16:06.
Londonderry 17-year-old Wasserman wound up ninth overall (17:47), and fellow 17-year-old Dickson ended up 17th overall (18:33).
The 2015 race’s female winner was former Pinkerton Academy running standout and current PA teacher and girls’ cross-country coach Amy Bernard, snaring her third consecutive GDTC Turkey Trot title with a time of 18:32. She was 16th overall. Bernard is the reigning Londonderry Old Home Day race champ as well.
The first two Londonderry female residents across the finish line were 19-year-old former LHS running standouts Makayla D’Urso and Sami Tocman. D’Urso outdistanced Tocman by just a nose, with both athletes finishing with matching times of 22:14.
Following the smaller draw of participants last autumn, this year’s GDTC Turkey Trot gathered residents from every New England state and as far away as California. Racers and walkers ranged in age from 1 to 73.
“It was a cool, windless morning, which was quite a contrast from last year’s snowy course,” said GDTC media spokeswoman Bonney Cashin. “Participants were excited and ready to run.”
And before heading to their respective Thanksgiving celebrations, the Londonderry residents and the rest of the 2015 Turkey Trot participants drew praise for giving plenty of food to the GDTC donation program at the group’s request.
“They contributed a large amount of food that will go to local food banks together with all profits from the race,” said Cashin. “The GDTC thanks all runners, walkers, sponsors, and volunteers who helped make this year’s race a success.”