Over the years, the unchecked commercial glut of Black Friday has intruded upon and overwhelmed the traditional meaning of Thanksgiving. Trumbull resident Heidi Langan looks to reverse this trend and salvage the nearly capsized family holiday from its mall-induced fever with the town\u2019s first-ever Track Friday event that focuses on charity, community and health. \u201cThe whole premise is to get away with the hype and materialism that surrounds this time of the year,\u201d she explained. \u201cWhat I really want to see happen is for our community to shed the commercialism of Black Friday and replace it by coming together with friends and family.\u201d Langan, who owns and operates H4Fitness in town, encourages residents to sign up for the fitness-based event that takes place at the Trumbull High School track from 9 to noon on Friday, Nov. 27. Participants may either run or walk, at any distance, while donating to the charity of their choice. An avid runner who\u2019s been running her whole life, Langan moved to Trumbull eight years ago before opening her business three years ago, and she\u2019s been teaching running ever since. She borrowed the idea of Track Friday from a New Jersey man named Eric Rubinson, who started this ever-growing idea in 2012 right after Superstorm Sandy hit. While Thanksgiving continued to be suffocated from the Black Friday hysteria, Rubinson set out to raise money for a local food bank in an attempt to reallocate money that was being spent in malls the day after the holiday. \u201cIt\u2019s really grown from there,\u201d said the Trumbull resident and Cornwall, England, native. \u201cHe has three going on in New Jersey, one in his hometown, and a few others around this area. \u201cThis will be the first in Trumbull \u2014 the first in all of Connecticut \u2014 so there\u2019s a great reason to be excited,\u201d she said. As with any first-year event, Langan isn\u2019t setting the bar too high. She said she hopes to see a turnout of 100-plus people and that she\u2019s already received donations from 50 people. \u201cI figure with those 50, if they bring their families and friend, then we could get to over 100 people at the track,\u201d she said. \u201cI really just want to create something that brings the community together at the same place, at the same time, over the \u00a0weekend of Thanksgiving,\u201d she said, hinting that she\u2019d like this become an annual tradition in town. Any charity, any time Flexibility is a crucial element to Track Friday in its first year. In addition to giving participants the choice to walk or run, Langan said, those who attend may walk or run for any given amount of time \u2014 and at any length \u2014 that morning. \u201cThere\u2019s no set length,\u201d she said. \u201cPeople can run at any increment, for any amount of time. \u2026 It\u2019ll be a good way for them to walk or run off the turkey from the day before.\u201d While there\u2019s no set length or time, participants are also given complete freedom as to what charity they\u2019d like to donate toward this holiday season \u2014 a luxury that\u2019s not always extended at certain events this time of year. \u201cHaving that flexibility is a huge plus,\u201d she said. \u201cThere\u2019s absolutely no restriction.\u201d \u201cThe money raised is not going to one specific area,\u201d she added. \u201cYou can donate to wherever you want \u2014 choose any charity.\u201d Word of mouth Langan, whose son attends Frenchtown Elementary School, said she\u2019s had friends distributing flyers in all the schools and to all the parents of cross country runners, who she hopes will see it and join the event. Besides putting flyers around town, and at the end of the trail, she\u2019s been relying on word of mouth and social media to generate buzz among residents. She said the money raised is a big deal for those in need, and the total raised would surprise some. \u201cThe national Track Friday event in New Jersey has already raised $20,000, and ours here in Trumbull is already up to $2,000 raised \u2014 and that\u2019s before the event has even started,\u201d she said. \u201cI\u2019m hoping over the next couple of days even more people hear about it and jump on board,\u201d she added. \u201cThey don\u2019t even have to come to the track \u2014 I have family in England who\u2019s donating money from abroad.\u201d Unsurprisingly, the biggest hurdle she\u2019s facing isn\u2019t raising money for charity; rather, it\u2019s getting people to understand the premise of the event. \u201cThere are so many charities out there that need support, and I think that when you say to someone, \u2018You can give to any charity,\u2019 it\u2019s a bit confusing,\u201d she explained. Nonetheless, she\u2019s been encouraged by the support she\u2019s already received from friends and family \u2014 here and abroad \u2014 as well as the backing she\u2019s received from the town\u2019s Parks and Recreation Department, which helped her secure the track for the day after Thanksgiving. \u201cGetting the track was the biggest part,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s nice having the town on board and having them understand my vision for this. \u2026 \u201cI would love to have it become an annual thing,\u201d she added. \u201cI think it\u2019s a good message to the kids \u2014 you have Thanksgiving and then you give back, all while being surrounded by family and friends and being healthy. \u201cThat\u2019s the tradition we should be building up, not Black Friday.\u201d Donation instructions To donate to H4Fitness, the event\u2019s sponsor, go its fund-raising page, www.razoo.com\/team\/trackfriday2015. H4Fitness will be supporting three selected charities \u2014 CMAK Foundation, Hole in the Wall Gang, and Dana Farber Children\u2019s Hospital \u2014 this holiday season, while encouraging participants to donate to any charity they choose. Langan said that if a participant's charity is not set up on the homepage, the person can create one that allows others to start donating to it. \u201cIt\u2019s very user-friendly and very safe,\u201d she said. For more information, contact Heidi at Hljt43@gmail.com or go to www.trackfriday.com and follow H4Fitness and Track Friday on Facebook.