FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Patrick Corona picked a good place to run his first race after recovering from a right knee injury as he breezed to a win in his hometown's 39th Annual Pequot Runners Thanksgiving Day Road Race on Thursday morning.
Corona, 22, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in the spring and is currently in Oklahoma for pilot training. The Mountain West Male Athlete of the Year for 2015-16 said winning the race in his hometown was an added bonus.
"It's nice to run here with family and friends all around," Corona said as he accepted congratulations after running a 25.42 race. "It's a great race and a great environment."
Race director Jeff Palmer has been organizing the event for 27 years and said turnout is always good, but depends on the weather. Thursday morning was cloudy and cool but with little wind — almost ideal conditions for runners.
"As it turns out, it was a great, great day," Palmer said. Proceeds from the race are distributed to area charities that focus on children, he said.
While gifted runners such as Corona, turn out for the race, it has become a tradition that hundreds of people look forward to.
Some took tradition the extra mile, including Mary Money and Michelle Friedman, who dressed, respectively, as a Pilgrim woman armed with an ax and a turkey hoping to escape his fate.
Money, from Fairfield, has participated for 17 years and always dresses in costume. Friedman from Norwalk has been in the race for five years, but this is the first year she has dressed up.
Money's children, Matthew Leonard, 25, and Liza Leonard, 21, have participated since they were youngsters, she said.
"It's just a great way to spend Thanksgiving morning," Money said.
Fairfield resident Heather Crum, her father, James Weil, from Asheville, N.C., and Vanessa Sinnott, also from Fairfield sported turkey hats for the race.
Crum, who has run often in the race before, said it is a holiday tradition.
"It's a fun tradition to come out and run in the morning and then go enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family," she said.
Sinnott joined her for the first time this year while Crum's father, James Weil, traveled to visit his daughter and to participate in the walk portion of the event.
"I walk, but I'm very fast," he joked.
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