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Turkey Trot planners aspire to create new Portage tradition

November 20, 2018

Kristin Considine has set her sights on creating a new Portage Thanksgiving tradition.

On Thursday morning, Considine hopes at least 50 people of all ages will join her, and the boys and girls of the Portage High School cross country teams, for the community’s first Turkey Trot — a non-competitive 5K fun run or walk. The event is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

All participants need to bring are their running or walking shoes and a non-perishable food donation for the Portage Food Pantry.

Similar Thanksgiving Day events have been held in other communities — including Baraboo, where Considine participated in last Thanksgiving’s event, and got inspired to bring the fun to Portage.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Portage had this?’ After all, we are Portage people,” she said.

Considine is coordinating the event, and getting the word out through social media, including a Facebook page. But the ones in charge are the cross country athletes, including her youngest child — son Eli, a senior for the Warriors.

Portage Community School District officials, including Portage High School Principal Robin Kvalo, have agreed to open the high school to give participants access to the restrooms. But the Turkey Trot won’t take place on the high school track.

Rather, the Portage Police Department has approved a route through the city’s northern section, partly on sidewalks and partly in the streets, Considine said.

The starting line and finish line is at Portage High School. Runners and walkers will proceed along Collins Street, turn left on New Pinery Road, then take another left at East Slifer Street by Wayne E. Bartels Middle School. The route will continue along East Slifer Street, then turn right at Hamilton Street, proceed to Pine Meadow Park (also known as Hamilton Street Park), then turn around and retrace the route back to the high school.

Considine has fielded several questions from prospective participants.

Can people bring youngsters in strollers? Yes.

How about dogs on leashes? They’re welcome, too.

Do people need to sign up in advance? No. Just show up at the high school.

Are there prizes for winners? No — although there will be timers available for people who want to know how fast they completed the course.

Considine said early indications suggest there will be more than 50 participants she’d hoped for, and that’s fine with her, because there’s unlimited space for anyone who wants to run or walk.

But she won’t brook any excuses about not being able to participate because of obligations to cook a Thanksgiving feast.

“I’m expecting 60 people for Thanksgiving,” she said. “If anybody gives me a hard time about ‘I can’t, because I have to cook,’ they should talk to me.”

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