The Seth Boyden PTA held its annual Two Towns Turkey Trot 5K and Kids’ Fun Run on the roads of the otherwise snow-covered South Mountain Reservation in Maplewood on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
It was cold, but the sun shined on returning and new runners from Maplewood, South Orange, and other communities, including Mendham, Caldwell, Roselle Park, and even Forest Hills, New York. Four Board of Education members participated in the race: Susie Adamson, who founded the Trot eight years ago; Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, who rallied the runners right before the start; Chris Sabin; and newly reelected Annemarie Maini.
The most amazing sight of the morning was Seth Boyden parent Kevin Kraft fulfilling the emcee duties – and completing the race distance – on stilts. He was promoting the New Jersey Circus Center’s Circus Kids Productions, which will run a circus skills workshop for fourth-graders at Seth Boyden in the spring.
The sponsors for the race were Adamson Ramsey Homes, Hearth Realty Group, South Orange; BCB Community Bank in South Orange; Blue Life Karate in Maplewood; CKO Kickboxing in Maplewood; Community First Soccer in Maplewood; Seven Point Wellness in Millburn; Viva Z Zumba studio in Springfield; and Wilber’s Painting in Maplewood. Stop & Shop provided much of the food and beverages for free. The South Orange Starbucks furnished the much-appreciated coffee. The Sneaker Factory in Millburn was the pick-up center for pre-registration packets.
Maplewood took bragging rights in both the male and female categories again this year, as calculated by race timing company CompuScore. Michael Postaski won the 5K with a time of 18 minutes and 12 seconds, receiving a $50 gift card donated by the Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant in South Orange for his victory. He also earned a photo op with the race belt (decorated with a turkey on the buckle), an annual tradition. Seth Boyden parent Caryn Gehrke took top honors among the women, clocking in at 20 minutes, 43 seconds. She received a $50 gift card donated by the St. James Gate Publick House in Maplewood.
Left: Winner Michael Postaski with race belt; Right: Women’s winner, Seth Boyden parent Karen Gehrke
Kai Winston of Maplewood and Ellie Holdom of South Orange were the first male and female finishers in the 14-and-under category; twelve-year-old Kai also took third place overall. Nicholas Torres of South Orange and Claire Chou of Maplewood were the top male and female runners in the 15-to-19 group. Gladys Palaguachi of Forest Hills, New York and Angelika Dawidczyk of Union were fastest in the 20-to-29 category. Among 30-somethings, Shawn Bender of Millburn finished second overall behind Postaski, and Jacqueline Murphy of Verona was the fastest woman in the category after women’s winner Gehrke. Michael Steiner of Maplewood and Jessi Empestan of South Orange were the first man and woman in the 40-to-49 category; Steven Athaide of Maplewood and Nancy Sietsma were first in the 50-to-59 group, with Nancy coming in second overall among women. Prevailing in the 60+ category were Francisco Rodriguez of Bayonne – the eleventh-fastest man in the race – and Seth Boyden teacher Carol West of Maplewood.
Gift cards for the age-category winners were provided by Kitchen à la Mode in South Orange as well as by Maplewood shops Able Baker, Anthony Garubo Salon, No. 165, Paper Hat, and [words] Bookstore.
In the Fun Run, new Seth Boyden physical education teacher Jackie Gronek organized kids from 3 to 12 into four age groups, then set them off to run gleeful sprints. Much to their delight, all Fun Run participants received not only medals but also coupons for free kids’ scoops at the Village Ice Cream Parlour in Maplewood.
Every year, the Turkey Trot & Fun Run event benefits the PTA of Seth Boyden Elementary in Maplewood, an opt-in demonstration school known for its diverse student body, outstanding Outdoor Learning Center/garden program, and individualized, whole-child approach to education. The fundraiser helps support a variety of assemblies and field trips, including the upcoming Story Pirates show; community-building events, such as the annual Harvest Festival and an International Pot Luck Dinner; a Black History Month Gallery and associated programming; for fifth-graders, a musical, ballroom dancing lessons, and an etiquette-training dinner; a closet of backup school supplies for classrooms; and many other programs and amenities at the school.
Photo credits: Ginger Bartkoski; Rodney Fontil; Susie Adamson; Michael Steiner; George Lymperopolous (CompuScore)