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1,000-Plus Turned Out for Montauk’s Turkey Trots

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 10:47
Megan Gubbins, near the halfway mark above, in last Thursday's Turkey Trot 6-miler in Montauk. Her dog, Aldo, not pictured, was the winning dog.
Jack Graves

"To have a record turnout and to start on time . . . I couldn't be happier," East Hampton Town's recreation director, John Rooney, said following last Thursday's 3 and 6-mile turkey trots around Montauk's Fort Pond. 

When, in 1976, John Keeshan began what was to become a Thanksgiving tradition, there were seven — John Conner, Ray Charron, Bill O'Donnell, Richie Shay, Fritz Schenck, Bill Stephens, and Eddie Maslow — who ran with him "out to Deep Hollow Ranch and back — five miles," he said. Last Thursday, Keeshan was in the lead vehicle with Thomas Brierley behind the wheel. 

The Turkey Trots around Fort Pond — one counterclockwise loop for the 3, and two loops for the 6 — soon after came under the wing of the Town Recreation Department, with Keeshan providing frozen turkeys as prizes, and, said the races' founder, "it got bigger and better. This is our 47th anniversary — we're shooting for 50."

There were 1,137 registrants, Rooney reported, a record that, he added, would undoubtedly yield a record dollar amount for the food pantries in East Hampton Town — the entry fee was raised this year to $20 per participant.

And, to boot, it was a pretty good day for running, sunny and brisk. Windy too — "it wouldn't be Montauk if it weren't," said Craig Brierley, Thomas's father — but the good news was that once the runners and walkers made the left-hand turn off Industrial Road, at the north end of the pond, they had the wind at their backs.

Ryan Fowkes, a 22-year-old George Washington University senior cross-country and track runner from East Hampton who holds G.W. track records in the 800, the 1,500, and the 3K, and is shooting to compete in the Olympic 1,500 trials at the University of Oregon in the spring, won the 6-miler — no surprise there — in 30 minutes and 29.58 seconds. It wasn't a record though: His 2022 winning time of 29:25.04 still stands. His best 1,500 time thus far was a 3:43, Fowkes said, adding that he'd like to get under that this spring, he said.

Fowkes's 18-year-old George Washington teammate, Nic Rodgers, won the 3-miler in 15:21.85, presumably a record.

The female winner of the 6 — and third over all — was Erin Gregoire 26, in 35:22.91. It was a three-peat for her. Her boyfriend, Tim Rossi, who regularly won the 6-miler before Fowkes beat him in 2021, finished fourth, in 35:23.63.

Lauren Dara, 43, of New York City, won among the women in the 3-mile race — and was 11th over all — in 19:36.15. 

There were 879 finishers in the 3-miler, and 133 in the 6-miler. Entire families took part, as has become the custom, there were 49 teams, and the entrants ranged in age from 6 to 85. 

The 6-year-old Carter Kochanasz is an ice and roller hockey player first and foremost, competing regionally and nationally with a team based in Syosset, as does his 4-year-old brother, Harrison. Anne and Matt Kochanasz's 2-year-old son, Zachary, is also skating now.

Asked which he liked better, ice or roller, Carter had to think about it, concluding that he liked both equally.

Presumably the winning canine in the 6K was Aldo, a 2-and-a-half-year-old Portuguese water dog behind whom ran Megan Gubbins, whose brother, Geary, oversees the recently reactivated Gubbins Running Ahead store in East Hampton Village.

Greg Morris made the case for Woody, his 2-year-old cream golden retriever, as top dog in the 3.

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