Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 7 : Winter 2011 - Page 22

Thanksgiving Traditions in Caribou: The Annual Turkey Trot Road Race Story by Tamra Kilcollins; race photos courtesy of Kevin Sjoberg, Aroostook Republican & News Family traditions and celebrating the holidays go hand in hand. At Thanksgiving, for some it’s enjoying mom’s homemade pumpkin pie and grandma’s special stuffing recipe. For others, it may be decorating the Christmas tree before having a bite of Thanksgiving “leftovers.” And some family traditions happen by accident. Just ask Dr. Dan Harrigan and his family. In 1985, Dr. Harrigan, Chief of the Cary Medical Center Emergency Department, organized the first annual Turkey Trot Road Race in Caribou as part of a Sports Medicine program the hospital provided at the time. Fast forward to 2010, and before you know it, 25 years of Thanksgiving holidays have come and gone, and what started out as a road race to promote health and wellness in a rural community in northern Maine, has become a local family tradition of fun and fitness for many participants and a “labor of love,” for the family who has worked together to host the event. Just as they’ve done for the past 24 years, the Harrigan 20 Turkey Trot WINTER 2011 Family of Caribou; Dr. Harrigan, his wife, Mary; and their children, who traveled home to Aroostook County from Portland and Boston, daughters, Caitlin and Lauren, and son, Eamonn; hosted the Annual Turkey Trot Road Race in November. For the 25th year, on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, while many County people were home recovering from their traditional “Black Friday” holiday shopping, almost 100 runners and walkers participated in the Turkey Trot 5K Road Race in Caribou. Dr. Harrigan explains that for many years the race was co-sponsored by Cary Medical Center and Solman Distributors of Caribou. It’s now sponsored by Cary and the Harrigan family, with continued support from several local businesses. The race course has remained the same throughout its 25year history, starting and finishing near the same telephone pole at Caribou High School. Dr. Harrigan explains that back in 1985, he set the course by measuring the distance “with an old 10-speed bike and Jones measuring wheel,