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, for an entire week, with contests across multiple social media platforms.
Hospitality House has dubbed Nov. 19-26, High Country Turkey Trot Week with contests, sponsored by Mast General Store and The Winkler Organization, taking place on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with prize packages totaling $1,000.
“The most magical thing about the Turkey Trot is the feeling of community and camaraderie among people from all across the United States gathered at the Boone Greenway each Thanksgiving morning,” said Hospitality House director of development Todd Carter. “While that’s not possible this year, our hope is that people will connect and compete in our contests and still have some fun. We all need as much fun as possible this year.”
The highest dollar value prizes to be won during Turkey Trot Week will be in the Peer-2-Peer Fundraising Contest. The top three people who raise the most money greater than $250 by Nov. 27 will win gift cards and prizes from Mast General Store, Pepper’s Restaurant and Bar, Footsloggers Outdoor and Mountain Running Company. The first place fundraiser will win $250, second place $175 and third place $100 in gift cards and prizes.
For the avid runner, there is a 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. Winner certificates, $20 Stick Boy Bread Company gift cards and $25 Mast General Store gift cards will be sent to the top three overall men’s and women’s finishers, with additional winner certificates being awarded in 10-year age divisions.
For those looking to cut loose, there is a TikTok Turkey Dance Challenge to the song Banana (feat. Shaggy) by Reggae artist Conkarah, and an Instagram Costume Contest with the top two participants receiving the most likes and shares on each platform winning a $25 Mountain Running Company gift card and $25 Amazon gift card.
Registration and contest information can be found 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.
Everyone who registers will receive a 15 percent discount coupon from Mast General Store. T-shirts and race bibs are available to local residents for drive-thru pickup on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m.-noon, and Nov 19 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. in the Publix at Three Creeks parking lot, 1620 Blowing Rock Road, Boone.
Registrations for souvenir t-shirts and souvenir race bibs will continue throughout the month or until sold out. Registrants from out of the area will continue to have their t-shirts and race bibs shipped in a timely manner.
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 not wanting to walk, jog, roll, run or race are encouraged to visit HCTurkeyTrot.org and make a general donation to help Hospitality House meet the increased demand brought on by COVID-19.
“I want to make it clear that running is not required,” said Carter. “The funds from this event are critical to supporting our Winter Seasonal Shelter, which began on November first. 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 ten-plus-one celebration and proper 5K race.
This year’s event is sponsored by Stallings & Co. Designs, Molecular Toxicology Inc., Skyline/Skybest, The Winkler Organization, Knights of Columbus Council #11966, OP Smiles, Wren’s Nest Landscaping & Garden Center, Bridgeman Dentistry, David Patrick Moses Architect, Valle Crucis Conference Center, Mast General Store, Omega Tees & Screen Printing, Stick Boy Bread Company and Ray’s Weather Center.
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.