The Wedge Waddle: Hundreds show out for South Wedge take on Turkey Trot

Annual Wedge Waddle serves local community

Annual Wedge Waddle serves local community

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Before they set their tables and put their turkeys in the oven, hundreds of people (and, dozens of pets) ran, walked, and waddled their way around Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood. 

The 5K course started in the parking lot of Abundance Food Coop, a community-owned grocery store on South Avenue. Folks ran through the neighborhood, down the Genesee River, and back up South Avenue, ending right where they began.

“The race is free. It’s for the neighborhood and community to come out and just be able to walk and waddle — get a little exercise before the Thanksgiving day, and just come out and support our community here in the South Wedge,” Co-organizer Kate Sweeney said.

“It’s kind of the alternative to the traditional 5K,” Co-organizer Jennifer Posey added. “We wanted people to waddle along and get some fresh air and hang out and enjoy the beautiful city […] It’s a great way to start your Thanksgiving, in a mellow type of way.” 

Posey, Sweeney, and about 20 other volunteers worked to put on the 11th annual Waddle happen. 

Armed with custom Wedge Waddle tee shirts and plastic medals at the finish line, they helped heard hundreds through the neighborhood. Melissa Rodriguez-Meehan, Michael Meehan, and their two sons were among those hundreds.

“Normally I’d run, but today we’re walking,” Michael said. 

“I’m a walker, and they’re walkers too,” Melissa added, pointing to the boys in a stroller. 

The family moved to the neighborhood a few months ago, and said they love having an inclusive community to be a part of. 

“It’s wonderful, I keep saying its like a dream to have a community like this,” Melissa said.

While it’s free to run, and free to snack, participants are encouraged to bring socks for nearby St. Joseph Neighborhood Center, a tradition they started during the second Wedge Waddle.

“We went to St. Joe’s house of hospitality, which is right here in the South Wedge, and asked [what they need],” Sweeney said. “And they actually mentioned socks, ’cause they’re the most asked for and least donated item. And now we raise enough socks that they have enough to share with some of the other shelters in the community.”

While some folks finish in under 20 minutes, the waddle isn’t timed. There are several stops along the way, with free donuts and cider, beer tasting, and even a photo booth. 

“We encourage any businesses or anything that want to make a stop along the way, to make it,” Posey said. “Because while we do have some runners, we really want it to be a family, community event. Everybody comes out and walks and brings their whole family — and pets and everything else — out. [The goal is} just to come out and enjoy the day.” 

Organizers said donation bins will be up through the end of November at the following South Wedge locations:

  • Abundance Food Co-Op 
  • Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream 
  • Happy Earth Tea
  • Tru Yoga
  • John’s TexMex
  • Genese Co-Op Federal Credit Union