BOONE — The coronavirus pandemic is making everything look a lot different this year and that includes the High Country Turkey Trot 5K. The annual Thanksgiving Day event, benefitting Hospitality House of Northwest N.C., has been taking place on the Boone Greenway Trail since 2011. This year, its 10th anniversary, the High Country Turkey Trot will take place virtually, from wherever the racers, runners and walkers are.
“Pivoting to a virtual event was really the only option,” said Hospitality House director of development Todd Carter. “The past few years, the Turkey Trot has averaged close to 1,200 participants from all across North Carolina and 26 additional states. With COVID-19 infections on the rise it would be irresponsible to host an in-person gathering that large, outdoors or otherwise.”
This year’s event has gone from a single day, to “High Country Turkey Trot Week.” Taking place across multiple social media platforms, including contests and prizes, the event will run from Nov. 19-26.
There will be an “official” 5K race on Facebook. Runners wishing to compete can run the race anytime during Turkey Trot Week and post a photo with their timed result via Garmin, Connect, FitBit, Apple Watch or other timing device, to the Facebook event page by midnight on Nov. 26. Winners will be announced on Saturday, Nov. 28. Certificates and prizes will be sent to the top three overall men’s and women’s finishers, with additional certificates being awarded in 10-year age divisions.
This year’s Turkey Trot will include a peer-2-peer fundraising contest, with the top three fundraisers receiving gift cards and prize packages. There will also be an Instagram costume contest and TikTok Turkey Dance Challenge with the participants receiving the most “likes” on each platform winning gift cards and prizes.
“The most magical thing about the Turkey Trot is the feeling of community and camaraderie among everyone gathered at the Greenway on Thanksgiving morning,” Carter said. “While that’s not possible this year, our hope is that people will connect and compete across these various platforms and still have great fun, for a great cause.”
There are four different registration options available online at HCTurkeyTrot.org. General registration is available for $25. Bib registration is available for $30 and includes a 10th anniversary souvenir race-bib. T-shirt registration is available for $40 and includes a long-sleeve 10th anniversary souvenir t-shirt. Deluxe registration is available for $45 and includes both the souvenir race-bib and t-shirt. All registration levels are for both adults and children with t-shirt sizes available in youth medium and adult small, medium, large, extra-large and xx-large.
The first 500 registrations will receive a 15-percent discount coupon from Mast General Store. Race-bibs and t-shirts will be made available for drive-through pickup or will be shipped to non-local participants. Any registrant who requires shipping and wishes to receive their race-bib and t-shirt prior to Turkey Trot Week needs to register by Oct. 26. All other orders will be shipped in a timely manner; however, arrival prior to Thanksgiving Day cannot be guaranteed.
Since 2011, the High Country Turkey Trot has raised more than $230,000 and close to 10,000 pounds of food to support the mission of Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina, a regional homeless services agency providing housing, hunger relief and crisis assistance in seven counties.
Those unable to race or run are encouraged to visit HCTurkeyTrot.org and make a general donation to help Hospitality House meet the increased demand brought on by COVID-19.
“The funds from this event are critical to supporting our Winter Seasonal Shelter, which begins November first,” said Carter. “This year looks like no year ever before and we need extra support, from runners and non-runners alike, to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
The High Country Turkey Trot hopes to be back on the Greenway Trail for Thanksgiving 2021 with a 10-plus-one celebration and proper 5K race.
This year’s High Country Turkey Trot is still accepting sponsorships to help offset the cost of the t-shirts.
For sponsorship information and questions email Carter at email@example.com or call (828) 264-1237, ext. 6.
To learn more about Hospitality House, visit them online at HospHouse.org, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok at @HospHouse; or on Twitter @HospHouseNWNC.