ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Runners and walkers are planning to get some exercise and help a good cause the morning before Thanksgiving dinner, with the second 5K Turkey Trot. St. Clairsville Recreation Director Eric Gay is welcoming all participants.
“I know it’s supposed to be a chilly Thanksgiving morning, but you can get the blood flowing before you eat all the food,” Gay said, adding the field should prove popular. “We are nearing completion of building a new softball/baseball field out at our complex, and the funds for this year is going to go for the purchase of a new scoreboard out there.”
“I was out at the field the other day. It’s absolutely beautiful out there right now,” Gay added. “All the money that we raised for this project was through a generous donation from Belmont Savings Bank, the St. Clairsville schools, the St. Clairsville Junior Sports, Walmart, the American Legion Post 159, and this will kind of finish off the project with a scoreboard out there. That’s what we’re doing this for. We’re hoping for another good day. A lot of people seem to be excited about having a 5K in the morning, so we’re just hoping for another good day.”
Gay said the money raised will be re-invested back into the city. He said the scoreboards they were considering were in the $8,000-$9,000 range.
“I don’t know if we’ll get all that, but this is going to aid in the purchase of it,” he said. “Either way, it’s going to be a fun day. This is an event that we always look forward to.”
If fundraising goes well, he hopes to have the scoreboard purchased in 2024.
“We’d love to do it before the start of the season,” he said.
He said the area has much to be thankful for, including the dedication of the community.
“The team effort of everybody trying to get this project completed is so special to me and to us. Good things happen when people work together and our junior sports organization that’s made up of just a group of volunteers, I can’t say enough about them and the work that they have done out there,” he said.
Gay commended Justin Clifford, athletic director at St. Clairsville-Richland City Schools District and the support of the district.
“Because they are going to use it for their girls varsity softball field,” he said.
He also thanks city officials and the city council for supporting the recreation department.
“We can’t thank everybody enough,” he said.
Gay said the field activities are a draw.
“That complex, through the months of April, May and June, has 1,000 people a night up there, watching their sons and daughters play, and grandkids and brothers and sisters. It is unbelievable how many people are up there during the week during those months.”
Gay said the race itself begins at 9 a.m. and the recreation center will take registration up until the day of the race.
“Everybody that registers gets a t-shirt. We’re paying out the top finishers in each age-group and category. We have trophies that we’re giving out. Sheetz in St. Clairsville is donating coffee and pastries to us. Once again, it’s just going to be a good morning. Thanksgiving morning a lot of time families are in town,” Gay said. “We want to make this a yearly thing that we continue. It’s just offering something for people to do.”
Gay said there were about 300 participants last year, and he hopes for high numbers on Thursday.
“As many people as we can possibly get is what we’d like to have. We’re not going to cut anybody off,” he said, adding children through senior citizens 65 years old and older will be welcome. K&J Timing out of Wheeling will be timing the race.
“It’s going to be really fun day.”
There will be cash prizes for the overall male and female finisher in the run and walking division. Medals will be given to the top two finishes in each division.
Those wishing to sign up or learn more can contact the recreation center at 740-695-2037, or the website at stcrecdept.recdesk.com.