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Turkey Trots planned to celebrate Thanksgiving

| Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2003

As hunters take to the woods for their supper, students at Penn State New Kensington will be running and walking for theirs Tuesday.

The weapon of choice for the 24th annual Turkey Trot• Their feet.

The winner receives a gift certificate for a turkey.

The fitness event for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends is staged as an opportunity to burn calories Nov. 27 prior to the traditional Thanksgiving feast Nov. 27.

The two-mile run and walk from campus features staggered starting times between noon and 3 p.m. There is an optional walk/run of 24 laps inside the gym.

Timers will record the results. Participants can go it alone or in groups.

"This is just another way that Penn State promotes the benefits of a healthy body and mind," said Elaine Zarichnak, campus nurse and Turkey Trot organizer.

"When I see a member of the faculty running alongside one of their students, it gives me a feeing of pride and satisfaction to know I work for a university that recognizes the value (of fitness) and is supportive of its campus community," she said.

For businesses or organizations who might want to organize a similar event next year, Zarichnak assures that it does not have to be complicated.

"It can be quite simple. It depends on what you hope to get from it," she said. "We don't push the competitive aspect too much. We stress the fun part."

In that spirit, inexpensive trophies and medals, as well as the titles of "Mr. Flash" and "Ms. Flash" are awarded.

Registration can be accomplished by e-mail, phone or at a designated location, she said. The Turkey Trot is not open to the general public, but kept to an "in-house" activity.

Zarichnak does offer these tips for the general public trying to stay fit while being tempted by a lot of food during the holidays:

  • Unless you have special dietary needs, don't deprive yourself of the foods that you enjoy.

  • Drink a glass of water before you begin serving yourself. It will make you feel a little fuller.

  • Fill half of your plate with low-calorie items such as salad and vegetables.

  • Take small portions. Use a smaller plate whenever possible so that it becomes difficult to load up.

  • Spend more time talking than eating. If possible, sit beside someone who is a great conversationalist.

  • Think about eating as an opportunity to just taste and sample a variety of foods.

    Other Turkey Trots

    If you're traveling this weekend, a pair of Turkey Trot foot races are scheduled for Saturday:

  • Oil City YMCA Turkey Trot, 8 a.m., from the YMCA. Contact: 814-677-3000.

  • Somerset Turkey Trot 5K Run and Walk for Scouting, 10 a.m., from Somerset Area High School. Contact: 814-445-6213.

    Club news

    Members of Western Pennsylvania Wheelmen bicycle club like to stay in motion for Pittsburgh's annual Light-Up Night.

    Riders are to meet at the bike rental kiosk, adjacent to the Second Avenue parking garage, at 6 p.m. Friday.

    This year's ride will be between 15 and 20 miles and will include watching fireworks at 9 p.m. from Heinz Field.

    Headlights and taillights are important because about a third of the ride will be on busy streets.

    Dressing up in holiday attire is strongly encouraged.

    Contact: e-mail: rongrehl@yahoo.com , stanolenn@cs.com , or dstoltz@aol.com ; WPW event hotline, 1-412-422-2234. The club Web site is www.wpwbikeclub.org .

  • Sierra Club Allegheny Group has an intermediate eight-mile hike planned for Sunday in Harrison Hills Park, Harrison. Contact: 412-826-0519.

    For other Sierra Club activity information, call 412-561-0203; or go online www.alleghenysc.org .

    Milestones

    Have you or are you planning to celebrate a milestone in your life with a fitness activity?

    Runners have been known to try to run the distance of their age on a particularly important birthday or event. Bicyclists and walkers have logged comparative feats. People in other exercise pursuits have taken on other challenges to acknowledge milestone birthdays, anniversaries, retirement and other occasions.

    We would like to share your story with readers. Contact: Rex Rutkoski, Newsroom, 210 Fourth Ave., Tarentum, Pa., 15084, or fax to (724) 226-4677.

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