On a 45-degree, sunny Thanksgiving morning, runners participated in Krogh’s Turkey Trot in Lake Mohawk. The annual event is in its 13th year and is among New Jersey’s largest and most popular running events, serving as a fundraiser for The Sparta Education Foundation (SEF). It’s become known as “The Tradition Before the Tradition.” Taking place early in the morning, the race enables participants to compete for fun in a main run, or a one-mile fun run before heading home with plenty of time to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family.
"One of the best parts of the Turkey Trot is how it promotes community pride,” said SEF President Donna West. “Our whole town comes together to cheer on the runners, and it’s not unusual to see strollers and dogs joining the race. We are thrilled to be celebrating our 13th year in 2019, which speaks to the popularity of this well-attended event.”
The event is made possible by volunteers, runners, walkers, volunteers, spectators who cheer on the runners, local businesses who support the event, Krogh’s, and the Sparta Education Foundation.
“The Turkey Trot is a major fundraiser for the SEF," said West. "We are incredibly grateful to have so many people supporting our students, which enables us to fund future educational grants that benefit all five of our public schools. We are proud to have funded over $1 million for grants to our schools since we were founded in 2006."
Kylen Anderson, Turkey Trot chair and member of the Sparta Board of Education agrees.
“How lucky we are to live in this community,” said Anderson.
Runners not only had a chance to work off any extra calories consumed on Thanksgiving, they also had a chance to have some dress up fun, wearing Pilgrim hats, Santa hats, and turkey outfits. The race starts and ends in front of Krogh’s at White Deer Plaza, with great views of Lake Mohawk.
Bob Fuchs, who owns Krogh's, said the race fills White Deer Plaza with holiday joy.
“It's been in existence for 13 years, and it is a wonderful, fun and happy event for the community to gather together and enjoy a Thanksgiving morning of gratitude with exercise, fun, laughter and a Bloody Mary or two,” he said. “Kids love the hot chocolate, and for Krogh’s it is a humbling honor to be the main sponsor.”
Krogh’s is a historical fixture in Sparta and for Sussex County known as a family restaurant, for its hand-crafted brews and stunning view of Lake Mohawk. The establishment's history dates back nearly 100 years.
“Everyone thinks I am a genius, thinking that I actually organize the trot,” Fuchs said. “We certainly help but take no credit for organizing it. That is 100% the Sparta Education Association’s wonderful work.”
Five out of the six top three in the men's and women's races traveled to the event from out of sate.
This year's champion was Cole Wintheiser clocking 16:05. Jason Gibbons was second running 16:39, and Narciso Mejia was third in 16:41. All three traveled to the event from out of state.
Corinne Fitzgerald was the female champion running 18:30 and Karen Ziga was second in 20:53. Both were came in from New York.
The sole local representative in the top three was Katherine Fahsbender, of Sparta, who placed third in the women's race in 21:11.
The night before the race, runners enjoyed a pasta dinner catered by Villa Capri II, at Lake Mohawk Country Club. This year's Turkey Trot was chaired by Beth Hofgesang and Paige Lucas.
Sponsors and volunteers worked hard to help keep the event running smoothly.
Sponsors included; Krogh's Restaurant and Brew Pub, ThorLabs, Regional Cancer Care Associates, Eastern Propane, Spavia, Realty Executives, The John L. and Grace P. Soldoveri Foundation, Sharpe Plumbing, Wellness Pediatrics, Villa Capri II, SchoolCraft Studios, Sharpe Plumbing, The O'Donnell Law Firm, Comegno Law Group, Coldwell Banker Julia "Julie" Killen, Pine Cone Chiropractic, Duphiney Financial Network, Sparta Township, The staff of Sparta Public Schools, Dykstra Associates PC, Atlantic Health System/Newton Medical Center. RCCA, and the Lake Mohawk Country Club. Also sponsors are; Askin & Hooker Law, Augies Brooklyn Bagels, Culligan Water, Division of Child protection, Gallagher Insurance, Gina & Bob Loewen, Integrity Dental, Knoll Communities, Krave Caterers, Lakeland Bank, Lakeland Surveying, Ronetco Supermarkets, South Shore Outdoor, Sparta Elks, Sparta Runners Club, St Moritz, The Liquor Factory and Dawnice LaFave and Dawn Corbo from Weichert Realtors.
As SEF Trustee Gwen Donovan noted, "It's a great way to kick off the holiday season."
For information about SEF, visit spartaeducationfoundation.org. For more about the Turkey Trot, visit kroghsturkeytrot.com. For more information about Krogh’s, visit (kroghs.com).