By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Thanksgiving Day 2018 will go down in history as one of the coldest, with record-breaking temperatures in the single digits. That didn’t keep approximately 50 participants from the Central Mass. Chinese Runners Association (CMCRA) from taking part in Shrewsbury’s annual Turkey Trot. Members and their families ran to show their support of Alzheimer’s disease research, patients and family care.
“As first-generation immigrants, we built our homes in this community,” explained club leaders John and Wei Li. “Like all those arrived before us, we love this land and feel the full obligation of making the country a better place for all to live in. We are fully committed to contribute to this wonderful community.”
“We are so excited and you know this is ‘Turkey Day’ and before we have some good food, we can burn some calories,” said club member Ningning (Nina) Zhang, a medical researcher. “Especially because the run is for research, this is such a valuable event.”
Founded in 2016, the group is made up of runners and walkers who “enjoy experiencing nature and friendship with their feet.” As such, they encourage one another to be more involved in community events. The team can be identified by their red vests.
The running club’s members include a variety of professions, including doctors, scientists and engineers who share their experiences and information relative to nutrition and training.
There are more than 100 members, mostly from Worcester, Shrewsbury, Northborough, Westborough, Southborough, Grafton and Paxton. Their main goal is to build a community of people who run together while encouraging and learning from each other to lead a healthy lifestyle.
She said that most are recreational runners who only run 10 to 20 kilometers on average a week. However, there are those that are much more dedicated and have completed multiple marathons, including the Boston Marathon.
In addition to the Shrewsbury Turkey Trot, Zhang noted that they are very active in participating in local community running events such as Run to Remember in Boston, the UMass Cancer Walk & Run, Making Strides against Breast Cancer in Worcester, and the Northborough Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.
The CMCRA represents one of the four local running bases for the BEN Running Club, a U.S.A. Track & Field registered nonprofit running club charged with promoting a healthy lifestyle through running to the Chinese community in North America.
“We really feel great this is a great opportunity to show our support through this community and we really want to contribute a little bit to the organization and to those who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and those who are taking care of them,” noted John Li.
For more information, visit the CMCRA Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/groups/1727197910936014.