Turkey Trot goes to a virtual race
EAST PALESTINE — After weeks and weeks of planning for its 14th annual Turkey Trot, the village received some disheartening news this week. Whereas the event was originally planned to take place in person up until Monday, the county health department aired on the side of caution when it forced the village to adjust the event, making it a virtual 5K.
Many annual traditions have gone by the wayside due to COVID-19, but the village is doing everything it can to hold a different variation of the event. Because the race has attracted over 200 people from about 10 different states in past years, it wasn’t feasible to maintain a safe environment.
“To remain COVID-19 compliant, we have been advised that we will need to be virtual this year,” John Turner, chairman for the event, said. “We are very disappointed and sincerely apologize for this change at this late date. This decision was based on circumstances beyond our control.”
Just as originally planned, those who registered early before Nov. 16 will receive a swag bag and T-shirt. The t-shirt and swag bag may be picked up at the community center in the park from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 5.
The race is still running through Second Sole, as runners will send their virtual results to email@example.com by Dec. 3. This year, there will be no trophies or medals for the top finishers. Instead, the first place man and woman will received $50 in cash as well as a $50 gift card to Dicks Sporting Goods. Other division winners will receive $10 gift cards. After the Dec. 3 deadline, winners will be announced, and prizes will be mailed.
Virtual races have become more popular due to COVID-19. Runners will take a picture of their watch to determine the time and location at the start of their run. At the end of the 3.1 miles, runners take another picture of their watch to gather their final time and location. That number is sent in to determine the winners.
“Obviously I’m extremely frustrated,” Turner said. “But this decision was made to protect our runners, walkers, spectators and the Turkey Trot team. Hopefully we’ll see everyone in 2020.”
With the COVID-19 rate rising and not showing any leveling. Turner said with the numbers increasing, many schools going remote and other factors, it was the only choice to keep the community safe.
Just a few weeks ago, the health department gave the village permission to hold the event in person. Fast forward two weeks, and the ever-changing virus has continued to take its toll on community events.