Costumes are optional, but the spirit of giving is a staple of Stamford's annual Shippan Turkey Trot , which takes place at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. The race will benefit Shelter for the Homeless , and all are welcome to run, make a donation or come and cheer, organizer Thomas Hynes said.
"It's a real giving back to the community," said Hynes, who started the tradition with sisters Elizabeth and Johanna 10 years ago. Dad Tom, an attorney, does free work for the shelter.
In the past two years, the race has raised more than $1,500.
"People pledge [to participate]. There's no registration fee," said Hynes. Donations will be accepted at the race, and a PayPal account also has been set up. This year, the Darien-based Fippinger Foundation is matching the first $1,000 in contributions, Hynes said.
The 2.4-mile race route will start at 280 Ocean Drive E. It stretches along Ocean to Shippan Avenue and Ralsey Road, then to Ocean Drive West and back to Ocean Drive East for the finish line.
The Shippan Turkey Trot has grown from a way to counter extra Thanksgiving calories into a creative way of giving. Costumes are encouraged, and prizes are given for the most distinctive. Past racers have darted along the streets dressed as Superman, Elvis and objects such as ketchup bottles.
"You should see the look on people's faces when they see us," said Hynes. "We would love to just expand this, just open it up."
Stamford resident and local firefighter Jeff Piedmont is a regular participant. "This is something my whole family looks forward to every year," Piedmont said in a statement. "The friends and the costumes are great, but being able to give something back is what really sets this race apart."