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Hundreds start the holiday on the run - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hundreds start the holiday on the run

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Thanksgiving morning was off to a running start in Burlington Thursday.

"It's a great day to be outside getting some exercise and doing something good for the community here," said Brian Joslin of the Green Mountain Athletic Association.

Roughly 1,000 people laced up for this year's Turkey Trot, a holiday tradition that collects cash and canned donations for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.

"We were just going to have a practice today, but we thought it would be better to do something as a team that also gives back to the community," said Alexy Novelli of the Green Mountain Aquatics swim team.

The crowd included the Green Mountain Aquatics swim team. These teens traded in an early morning in the pool to pound the pavement.

"It's awesome. It's a really great experience, you know, it is a challenge for us. We can push ourselves and we can do it together and meanwhile we are benefiting a great cause," said Hayley Booher of the Green Mountain Aquatics swim team.

"They get up, they get up early to come and run on Thanksgiving Day when, as you said, they could be sitting watching TV and I think it means a lot to them," said Mia Novelli a swim team mom.

Last year the food bank collected more than 2 million pounds of food, but so far this year, they're about 500,000 pounds shy of that total.

"We probably in the last week prior to Thanksgiving have gone through 100,000 pounds of product off our shelf. I mean we had 30,000, 40,000 pounds of turkeys that went," said Bob Maritano, the food drive coordinator.

The food bank says the drop is the result of cuts to the USDA Food Assistance Program and that these runners are helping to make up the difference.

"Be thankful for what you have and think about what others may not have and those less fortunate than you and just give back to them," said Aidan Hartswick of the Green Mountain Aquatics swim team.

It's a simple lesson about doing good that's sinking in along the course.

"It's really great to know that a small swim team and even a community can make such a difference and help people especially on a day like Thanksgiving," Booher said.

And there just may just be a small reward for these athletes who could be treating themselves to seconds with this 5k behind them.

"That's a good question. I guess it depends how hard you want to run," Joslin said.

"Well, sure, I am exercising, but either way I would eat a lot of Thanksgiving food," Novelli said.

The Turkey Trot brought in 1,542 pounds of food and was set to raise about $5,000.

The food shelf will serve approximately 12,000 people this year.

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