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More Than 1,000 Participants Complete Turkey Trot



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The return of the in-person event after last year’s virtual race was well-received as more than 1,000 runners and walkers completed the Newtown Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. The temperature was just below freezing and the sun was shining for participants who started and finished at Newtown Middle School.

Sandy Hook’s Ryan Escoda won the 5K race in a time of 17:28.3. Angela Castronuovo, of Carmel, N.Y., was the top female finisher and came in sixth in 18:42.9.

The 12th annual race, presented by Newtown Savings Bank, benefits the C.H. Booth Library.

Escoda, who runs cross country at Eastern Connecticut State University, said he fed off the energy from community members on hand to cheer for everyone.

“I love the atmosphere. It’s definitely fun seeing everyone,” said Escoda, who was a standout runner at Newtown High School.

Castronuovo, who ran the course with her brother, Vinny who finished fourth in 18:25.3, and mom, Kelli-Ann Castronuovo, said she enjoyed the course’s rolling hills.

Sandy Hook’s Brenda McRae was the second-fastest female and the top female finisher from town, finishing 15th in 20.01.5. McRae, who is back to training for full marathons, is coming off a stint in which she was sidelined by injuries. Her return to competitive running was extra special because her daughter, 8-year-old Blake McRae and friend Maddie Reaes ran their first 5K.

“She was so excited. She was training on the treadmill all week to try to build up her stamina,” McRae said.

In keeping with the theme of multiple generations of runners, Newtown’s Debra and Miguel Pickering ran with their daughter Cassie, and Debra’s brother, Michael, who visited from out of town. Running Turkey Day races is nothing new for this family. Debra and Michael ran their first race, along with another sibling, Leanne, when they joined their parents Gerda and Greg Bolingbroke for the Woodbury Fun Run on Thanksgiving of 1993, just a few months after the family moved to Connecticut from South Africa.

Many prospective future Turkey Trot runners got a taste of the event this year as runners pushed babies in strollers. Some participants ran with dogs on leashes, others wore Thanksgiving-themed hats, including fuzzy turkeys.

Then there were Brookfield sisters Aileen and Amy Tobin who wore inflatable dinosaurs much to the enjoyment of others.

Newtown/Sandy Hook dominated most of the top ten. Joey Conrod placed second in 17:42.7, Stephen Mais was third in 18:12.4, Soheib Dissa was fifth in 18:39.5, Erik Wessel came in seventh with a time of 18:49.1, and William Drew was eighth in 18:58.8. New York’s Stuart Landsberg crossed the finish line in ninth with a time of 19:16.4. Newtown’s Aidan Budge placed tenth, clocking in with a time of 19:18.4.

Look for more race coverage and photos in the December 3 print edition of The Bee.

Complete results, including age division winners, may be found on the Rat Race Timing website.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Runners take off at the start of the Turkey Trot. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Ryan Escoda finished the race first with a time of 17:28.3.
Angela Castronuovo was the top female finisher.
Blake McRae, left, and Maddie Reaes ran their first 5K.
Sisters Amy and Aileen Tobin entertained everyone with their dino costumes.
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