Norway's Turkey Trot 4 Hope sees record turnout

Nov. 24—NORWAY — With clear sunny skies, good cheer and a hearty number of dogs, the fifth annual Turkey Trot 4 Hope had its best showing yet on Thanksgiving Day.

Several hundred people to the Norway Fire Department early Thursday morning for the 1- and 4-mile races. At 285 participants, the event topped its previous record by dozens.

That's great news for the Cancer Resource Center of Western Maine in Norway, which organized the fundraiser. The nonprofit provides support to cancer patients and their families through wellness programs, food and travel assistance and more.

Following the race, organizers hadn't yet calculated the net proceeds raised from registration fees, participant fundraising efforts and community sponsors. Board Vice President Mallory Brooke Cash said organizers were thrilled by the turnout and hoped to reach their goal of $20,000.

At the top of the individual fundraisers was Karen Saito of Bethel, an event volunteer and cancer survivor. When she began chemotherapy treatments more than a year ago, the Cancer Resource Center of Western Maine helped her and her family through the process.

"They're just super helpful with helping people navigate what their resources are," she said.

In total, she raised almost $500.

Among the 4-mile race participants were Gregg and Vilde Downing, with their 2-year-old Goldendoodle, Dunkin Blueberry.

Usually, Dunkin Blueberry starts the race hot, and the pair end up pulling him along, Gregg Downing said. But not this time.

"It was more of a stroll for him than a run," Vilde Downing said.

Now living in Nashua, New Hampshire, both are natives of Norway. Only, Gregg is from Norway, Maine, and Vilde is from Norway, the country.

"We feel better about eating lots of food when we move in the morning," she said.

So do I. Early this morning, I was among those who left their warm home Thursday for the chilly 4-mile race down and back Route 118. The best part, of course, were all of the dogs.

The Downings weren't the only ones who ran the Turkey Trot 4 Hope with a furry friend. Two Huskies, a Great Dane and a few other cheerful dogs sporting bright winter coats were among the four-legged competitors.

And let me tell you, they made it look easy.