At the Rockland Road Runners kickoff meeting on January 22 at Growler & Gill in Nanuet, Turkey Trot race director Dave Goldwasser announced that his 2023 event generated $124,000 for local charities. The five-mile race, held Thanksgiving Day, November 23 at Rockland Lake, yielded $110,000 for the Marisa Fund, which raises money for research, treatment and care of pediatric cancer patients.
The Marisa Fund seeks to improve the chances of survival for children with cancer undergoing blood and bone marrow transplants, and to reduce the risks of their associated therapies. Goldwasser founded the Marisa Fund in memory of his daughter, Marisa Goldwasser, a former track runner at Clarkstown North High School who died of Hodgkins lymphoma in 2003, at age 20.
The 2023 Turkey Trot had 2,645 registered entrants, making it the largest running event in Rockland and one of the largest Thanksgiving Day races in the Northeast. The $110,000 raised for the Marisa Fund was a record total, Goldwasser noted. “2023 was our best year ever,” he said. “We are making a real impact on childhood cancer and we couldn’t do it without every sponsor, donor, runner and walker.” He added that 150 families were directly assisted last year, with $20,000 donated to families with shelter insecurity, food insecurity, funeral expenses, child care needs, and domestic insecurity.
The Turkey Trot has been held annually at Rockland Lake since 1992, except for 2020 when the race was run virtually due to the COVID pandemic.
In addition to the funds earmarked for the Marisa Fund, $14,000 was donated to other Rockland County charities, including People to People, Rockland’s largest food pan- try, providing food and other services to families in need; Rockland County Hispanic Law Enforcement Organization; Rockland Road Runners Scholarship Program; Congers-Valley Cottage Ambulance Corps; Salvation Army/ Rockland County Corps; Nyack Soup Kitchens; and the Blue Knights law enforcement motorcycle club.
The Rockland Road Runners also announced their 2023 award winners at the January 22 meeting. Veronica Konstandakis won the Don Cordisco Award, the club’s highest honor, which recognizes longtime contributions and dedication to the Rockland Road Runners. Runners of the Year were Jessie Andre and Reggie Peralta; Volunteers of the Year were Cliff Fromm and Faith Lazerus; and the George Wodicka Inspiration Award went to Vicky Bowman.