Turkey Trot 5K race continues a legacy

The second annual Addison Coty Memorial Turkey Trot 5K was held November 16 in Robbinston, with proceeds going to support a memorial scholarship fund. The fund is in memory of Robbinston native Addison Coty, who lost his life in an automobile accident in July 2018.

“In his short 18 years he made a huge impact on this community and around the state,” says Addison’s mom, Angela Coty Demmons. “He was one amazing kid.” The impact his life has had on others continues as residents of this Downeast area gather, break bread, run races and raise money to fuel a scholarship fund, named in Coty’s honor, which is given to a Calais High School senior every year.

Coty, a graduate of Calais High School, excelled academically and was a popular student athlete competing in basketball, track and field, cross-country, baseball and soccer. At an early age Coty showed a passion for running and while in high school was a four-year Downeast Athletic Conference all-star and as a senior named a Penobscot Valley Conference all-star. In 2017 Coty finished fifth in the Class C state championship meet.  “My friend, Jamie Thigpen, suggested we put this race together because there was nothing like it in the area,” says Demmons. “When Addison was younger he ran the one in Brewer and would win as I called it ‘Christmas Dinner.’”

Eleven-year-old Shawn Cushing leads the pack in this year’s second annual Addison Coty Memorial Turkey Trot held in Robbinston on November 16. Over 45 adults and 18 children took part in the road race to raise funds for a scholarship named for Calais High School scholar athlete Addison Coty. (Photo courtesy of Stacie Cushing)

This year’s event raised over $5000 and saw 45 adult runners compete. The overall winner for men was Peter Williams and overall winner for women was Tricia Brown. Earlier, 18 children participated in the Mini-Gobbler Race. For the first time, the community held a spaghetti dinner the night before the race, and the event garnered support from 20 businesses and organizations throughout the area.

Last year’s scholarship went to Mackenzie Lapointe, who today pursues a nursing degree at Husson University. “Receiving the scholarship meant so much to me because of where it comes from and who it is named for,” says Lapointe. “This scholarship tells me that I am somewhat like Addison, which by itself is a wonderful thing and makes me feel special, because he was a great person that everyone misses so very much.”

Demmons’ cousin, Ashley Hadam, ran the race both in support and as a reminder to the fragility of life. “I froze my butt off on Saturday as a reminder that life isn’t always easy or comfortable; it’s often really hard.” says Hadam. “I’ll run next year because it’s important to recognize and remember that the world lost some of its brightness when Addison was taken from us.” And 11-year-old Shawn Cushing, winner in his bracket of the Mini-Gobbler race, says he will continue to run this event forever. “Having this race is for a great cause and it’s a good way to remember Addison because he loved to run,” says Cushing. “I run this race in honor of my friend, Wyatt (Addison’s brother), and his family and in memory of Addison. I hope to someday be as good of a runner as Addison and to be the great friend and teammate that he was.”

Along with family and friends, Demmons looks to continue the legacy of her son with this event and perhaps some others in the future. For now, she believes this race is a bright spot for her and the community each year, and even though it’s difficult she knows it’s necessary to keep moving forward. “It is not easy, but for two years I’ve worked hard with family members, friends and with huge support from the community to make this happen,” says Demmons. “I know Addison is looking down and smiling. He was a runner and he was excellent at it. And I know he’s saying ‘Mom, why would you pick a course with all those hills?’ He hated hills.”

RJ Heller

About RJ Heller

Having arrived here from Pennsylvania over four years ago, there has been plenty to learn and even more to observe. This place is different, but I mean that in a good way. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, I am a college graduate with a teaching degree, a business founder and seller, and a father of two children with my wife Stephanie; life has been full and somewhat adventurous, but finding Maine remains a high watermark in my life.