Published December 5, 2019


NORTH READING — Over 1,000 runners and nearly 140 walkers set aside time on a rainy Thanksgiving morning to participate in the 11th edition of the family-friendly North Reading HOF Turkey Trot.

This event has become as much of a staple in the town’s Thanksgiving holiday tradition as the big game against Lynnfield, thanks to the efforts of the North Reading Turkey Trot Committee and NRHS Hornet Hall of Fame Committee and a long list of supporters.

This year’s overall race winner and first male finisher was Sam Fazioli, 27, of Salem, N.H., who crossed the line in 16:22.9, a mile pace of 5:17. Fazioli is a repeat Turkey Trot champ as he won last year’s race in 16:19.10.

JACKIE SOLIMINE was the fastest female runner in the Turkey Trot 5K for the fourth time (18:15.4) and was presented the 2019 Frederick A. Keyes Memorial Award by his son and two of his grandsons. From left: Douglas Keyes, Brendan Keyes, Fred Keyes Jr., Jackie Solimine, Race Director Joe Davis and Hornet Hall of Fame President Craig Jamieson. Missing from photo is male division winner Sam Fazioli. (Maureen Doherty Photo)

Winning the women’s race for the fourth time was Jackie Solimine, 25, of Haverhill, in 18:15.4, which is a mile pace of 5:53. She previously won the women’s division in 2015, 2017 and 2018, and shaved 17.7 seconds off last year’s time of 18:33.10.

The couple that runs together, stays together… Jackie and Sam are engaged to be married and the Turkey Trot has become part of their training regimen. They are off to Sacramento, California this week to compete in a marathon. It will be Jackie’s second marathon while she said that Sam has run many marathons. They met at their running club and both ran competitively in college, Jackie at UMass Lowell and Sam at Northeastern.

Their connection to town is through Jackie’s father, Scot, who was a member of the 1977 undefeated Hornet basketball team. Both competed competitively at their respective colleges, Jackie at UMass Lowell and Sam at Northeastern.

The Turkey Trot is a true community event with entire families participating in physical fitness together and each school partaking in a friendly competition while striving to get the highest percentage of their student body to participate. In return, they are raising money for the town’s student-athletes and physical education programs.

For the second year in a row, a 1.75 mile walk was also part of the race, which drew 138 competitors, some of whom participated in costumes and hats befitting the season.

Proceeds from the Turkey Trot enable the HOF Committee to also offer two $500 scholarships annually to one male and one female graduating senior who were active in the track program at NRHS. These scholarships are given in memory of a popular former teacher at NRHS who was a strong supporter of the school’s athletic programs, the late Frederick A. Keyes. His family members participate in the race each year and also present the Frederick A. Keyes Memorial Award to the top male and top female finisher in the race each year.

FOR THE SECOND consecutive year, engaged couple Sam Fazioli (16.22.9) and Jackie Solimine (18.15.4) won the male and female divisions of the Hornet HOF 5K Turkey Trot. (Maureen Doherty Photo)

“Fred Keyes was an avid runner during his long career as a teacher at North Reading High School and a strong supporter of all high school athletes,” Race Director Joe Davis recalled in a letter to the editor in this week’s Transcript.

Fazioli and Solimine were presented plaques named for Keyes from Davis and North Reading Hornet Hall of Fame President Craig Jamieson. On hand to offer their congratulations on behalf of the Keyes family were Fred Keyes Jr., and his nephews, Douglas and Brendan Keyes, who are the son and grandsons, respectively, of the award’s namesake. Both runners also received gift certificates to the Horseshoe Grille and running shoes from Marathon Sports, two event sponsors.

Race funds are also donated by the HOF Committee to support the athletic teams at the high school and make improvements to school athletic facilities that are outside of the typical school budget. The elementary school challenge is now in its seventh year. The school with the highest participation rate in the race earns funds to purchase PE equipment for their school. The winning school will be announced later this year and recognized by the HOF for their efforts.

Marathon Sports also generously donated gift certificates to the top three finishers of each age group and the family category.

FOGHORN Leghorn has met his match in Philip Nackley who wore a turkey costume in the 1.75 mile walk that is an alternative to the 5K HOF Turkey Trot. He finished in 30:32. (Maureen Doherty Photo)

Family challenge

The family challenge has proven to be quite popular. Families are encouraged to form a team of four members and each team is ranked by the combined times of those four runners. There were 50 family teams acknowledged in the race this year, up from last year’s 33.

Winners of the family team event were the Harrisons, with a combined time of 1:24:34.7 and an average pace of 21.08.7. Topping the ticket was Miles Harrison (17:09.8). He was followed by Eric Harrison (20:26.9), Simone Harrison (21:37.5) and Liz Harrison (25:20.5).

The Solimine family came in a close second after winning the family challenge two years in row. Jackie Solimine’s time of 18:15.4 set the pace. Teammates Jenna (20.10.4), Julie (21:56.6) and Scot (25.24.2) Solimine rounded out the team again for a combined time of 1:25:46.6 and an average time of 21.26.7.

Third place in the family challenge went to “Team Smitty.” Aidan Smith set the pace (21:55.4) and he was followed by Kevin Smith (22:00.3), Connor Smith (24:02.6) and Colin Smith (24.41.8) for a combined time of 1:32:40.1 and an average time of 23:10.1.

BRENDAN CARTER was eagerly greeted at the finish line of the Turkey Trot by his dog, Charlie. Carter, 21, of North Reading, finished fourth overall in 16:50. (Maureen Doherty Photo)

Prizes were awarded to the top three family teams as well as the top three finishers in each age group, from 10 and under to 70-99. The top three finishers in each age group or family group were provided with gift certificates from Marathon Sports which will be mailed to them.

The top 50 list of overall finishers is included in today’s print edition of the Transcript. To view the complete results for the walk and the run go to and click on “race results” at the top of the page. In the drop down menu go to “North Reading 5K Turkey Trot 11-28-2019” to click on the links in four categories: Run Results, Age Groups, Family Teams and Walk Results.

A link to the complete race results by North Shore Timing has been posted to the North Reading Transcript Facebook page.

Davis said anyone interested in getting involved to help organize next year’s race can send an email to: