Thousands of runners took part in a turkey trot of epic proportions Thursday as Andover once again hosted the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race.
The state’s largest Thanksgiving Day race went off without a hitch as participants made their way through the 5K course in relatively cold, but sunny weather.
“It went… unbelievable,” said Race Director Dave McGillivray. “We’ve had some pretty rough weather on Thanksgiving for this race in the past, but today was picture perfect.”
This year, more than 6,000 runners and walkers took to the streets, with plenty of others on the sidelines, cheering them on.
“The crowds were absolutely, incredibly supportive, as always,” one runner said. “They were cheering, the kids were out there, bundled-up, giving us high fives – we couldn’t have asked for a better time.”
“The race was great, the people were cheering us on and keeping us going throughout the whole thing,” said another runner.
“That’s right, the crowds got us through that last stretch, which was really tough, but it’s a great course and a great day!” another added.
Held since 1988, the Feaster Five has brought together the community for a fun-filled morning, with some families running it every year, no matter what.
“This is my tenth year, and I’ve run every one of them, including virtually, and even in 2020, when they did not have a race – I ran the Feaster Five on the same course,” said a runner sporting a Merrimack Valley Striders shirt.
All proceeds for the race go to benefit local causes and organizations, including the Merrimack Valley YMCA, the Merrimack Valley Striders high school scholarship fund, the Bellesini Academy and Groundwork Lawrence.
The race is also well-known for its delicious prize at the end of the course: a truckload of Table Talk pies, handed out near the finish line.
The Feaster Five is hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders, which was founded in 1979 and works to “encourage and enhance running at all levels,” according to the organization’s website.