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Krogh’s Turkey Trot marked its 13th anniversary in Lake Mohawk on a bright, chilly Thanksgiving morning when thousands of enthusiastic runners and spectators filled White Deer Plaza. This popular fundraiser for The Sparta Education Foundation (SEF) is known as “The Tradition Before The Tradition,” when an 8:45am start leaves plenty of time to prepare and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to the 5K, a One-Mile Fun Run kicked off at 8:15am. Close to 2,000 runners and walkers participated in both events.

The 5K course along East Shore Trail started and ended in front of Krogh’s Restaurant and Brew Pub with views of Lake Mohawk along the way. Finishing in first place was Cole Wintheiser from Philadelphia with a time of 16:05, followed by Jason Gibbons from Northport, New York at 16:39. Narciso Mejia from New York City took third at 16:41.Corrine Fitzgerald, also from New York City was the first woman to cross the finish line; she placed twelfth overall with a time of 18:30. Robby Russo, 19, was the first Sparta resident to finish, taking fourth place overall with a time of 17:00.

The Turkey Trot enjoys a picture-perfect location and pre-run festivities including the Pasta Party for all registered runners catered by Villa Capri II on Wednesday night at Lake Mohawk Country Club. The Turkey Trot was co-chaired by Beth Hofgesang and Paige Lucas, Trustees of the Sparta Education Foundation. Scores of local volunteers, many of them Sparta High School students, kept things running smoothly, and Sparta Middle School seventh grader Natalie Torres sang the national anthem before the race, and Sparta High School Athletic Director Steve Stoner was the official race starter. Additionally, the SEF hosted a food drive, collecting non-perishable donations to benefit the Sparta Ecumenical Food Pantry.

Turkey Trot sponsors include Title Sponsor Krogh’s Restaurant and Brew Pub; Gold Sponsor Thorlabs; Grandstand Sponsor RCCA; Bib Sponsor Eastern Propane; Goody Bag Sponsor Realty Executives; Leaderboard Sponsor Spavia; and Silver Sponsors Atlantic Health Systems/Newton Medical Center; Comegno Law Group; Coldwell Banker-Julie Killen; Duphiney Financial Network; Dykstra Engineering; Lake Mohawk Country Club; The O’Donnell Law Firm; Pine Cone Chiropractic; SchoolCraft Studios; Sharpe Plumbing & Heating; The Staff of Sparta Township Public Schools; Wellness Pediatrics and Villa Capri II.

Since 2006, the Sparta Education Foundation has funded well over $1 million in grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools. The Foundation is an all-volunteer, independent 501 (c) 3 NJ Non-Profit Corporation whose mission is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving. Visit for more information about joining or volunteering.