Runner hopes to start new Thanksgiving tradition in Milford

Milford resident Tor Blackstad with his son, Jaxin, and wife, Jaime, at the 2016 Turkey Trot in San Jose, Calif., just before the finish. Blackstad has started the Milford Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving Day.

Milford resident Tor Blackstad with his son, Jaxin, and wife, Jaime, at the 2016 Turkey Trot in San Jose, Calif., just before the finish. Blackstad has started the Milford Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving Day.

Contributed photo /

MILFORD — Running for a cause on Thanksgiving Day had become a tradition for Tor Blackstad.

While living in California, Blackstad was spent every Thanksgiving for more than a decade competing in the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. So when he moved to Milford in January last year, he immediately saw something missing on Thanksgiving morning.

“When I noticed there were no similar options in Milford, it seemed like a great opportunity to get one started,” he said.

And so, the first Milford Turkey Trot was born.

Blackstad said the Milford Turkey Trot, which begins at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day along Gulf Street, Buckingham Avenue and New Haven Avenue Thanksgiving Day, offers various options for participants.

This casual 3-mile run/walk starts at James Park, at Gulf Street and New Haven Avenue, then heads south past Gulf Beach, turns onto Calf Pen Meadow heading Northwest on Buckingham Avenue before turning west onto New Haven Avenue, creating a closed loop back to James Park.

If three miles is too far for some of the runners, especially youngsters, Blackstad said two shorter out-and-back options would be clearly marked heading the same direction to Gulf Beach. One is one-mile total and the second, going all the way to Gulf Beach is exactly two miles. Both have sidewalks the entire way.

Blackstad said people can run or walk alone, with their children, with strollers, or even with their pets on leashes as all routes are on Milford sidewalks. No roads will be closed for this event, he said, and all street laws must be always followed by participants.

“It is not a race,” he said, “It is a fun run/walk charity event. Please be safe at all times.”

All registration proceeds go directly to the local elementary school PTA at Calf Pen Meadow. The PTA uses donations to support its 2021-22 initiatives, including funding class T-shirts for all students, updating the teachers’ lounge, funding appreciation events for all school staff, fifth grade graduation activities, school fall and spring outdoor beautification projects, COVID classroom enhancements, and a classroom allowance for all teachers.

Blackstad said his volunteer crew will also be collecting non-perishable food on the morning of the run for the Purple Pantry Boxes movement around Milford.

For the first year, Blackstad said he was covering all the costs, including permits, insurance and police support. But he envisions the day when Milford’s Turkey Trot rivals the San Jose version.

“With some work and after a few years hopefully we can get a few thousand Milford runners out there getting in shape and supporting good charities on Thanksgiving morning,” he said.

Online advanced registration is $12 per adult and $5 per school-aged child. Dogs and children 5 or younger are free. There is no in-person registration on the day of the event. People can also register as virtual participants.

To register, visit http://www.milfordturkeytrot.com/. Volunteers and sponsors are necessary. Those interested can email Tor.Blackstad@gmail.com with the subject line including “Milford Turkey Trot.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com