558 turn out for Turkey Trot

Race dedicated to the memory of Melanie Conley




RUSSELL The Turkey Trot run also became a celebration of life for the late Melanie Conley.

Jenny Ferguson spoke about Melanie, who lost her battle with lung cancer on Feb. 29, in eloquent terms. She talked about her courage, her friendship and how she’d “be out here running with us.”

The Turkey Trot, the 5K and 10K run every Thanksgiving, raises canned goods for Helping Hands of Greenup. It also has become a gathering place for friends and family every Thanksgiving morning.

Despite the drizzly conditions before the race started, 558 runners turned out to make some space for turkey later in the afternoon.

They also shared in celebrating Melanie Conley’s life. Melanie’s husband, Judge Bob Conley, was overwhelmed by the gesture. Mike Wilson, who has given t-shirts to runners the past few years, had one made in Melanie’s memory at Ferguson’s request.

“It sure means a lot to me,” said Bob Conley, who said he didn’t know about the t-shirts until his daughter, Katie, told him before they got out of the car.

“Jenny is a former (Russell) student who went to school with her (Melanie’s) kids,” said Turkey Trot organizer Ruthie Lynd. “She asked me ‘Do you think we can do something?’ The Turkey Trot meant so much to that family.”

Bob Conley grew up near downtown Russell and his parents’ home is on the running route, Lynd said.

He, like many others in attendance, ran with Melanie Conley in mind.

Jax Downs and Darian Steele were the 5K winners while Missy Moore was the 10K female winner. Lynd said they couldn’t track down the “mystery man who won the 10K.”

The race is never so much about winning as renewing acquaintances, Lynd said. Cellphone selfies were being snapped throughout the downtown area before and after the race.

The turnout was a couple of hundred less than last year, but Lynd was happy considering the weather. “It stopped raining by the time the race started, but it was drizzly before and that might have scared off a few runners,” she said. “But I’m tickled to death with the turnout. I think it’s great.”

The bubbly Lynd was snapping photos of everybody she knew in the race and that meant more than 500 photos.

Runners thanked her for continuing the Turkey Trot tradition that stocks the pantries of Helping Hands along with providing for family and friend reunions.

Downs, who is a junior at Russell High and member of the cross country team, said “I had a blast. I didn’t think I’d win. I haven’t run in two to three weeks.”

Steele, a former cross country runner at Boyd County and now a sophomore at Shawnee State, said she was pleased with her run too.

“I saw a bunch of people from high school so that was fun,” she said.

(606) 326-2648 | mmaynard@dailyindependent.com


Runners get started at the annual Turkey Trot on Thursday.
Runners get started at the annual Turkey Trot on Thursday.


Runners get started at the annual Turkey Trot on Thursday.
Runners get started at the annual Turkey Trot on Thursday.


Mark and Amber Sturgill were well-dressed for the run.
Mark and Amber Sturgill were well-dressed for the run.


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