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Outside: Ready. Set. Record!

Turkey Trots go virtual
Photo by Nathalie Désirée Mottet on Unsplash

Thanksgiving traditions have had to change significantly during 2020, with the ongoing pandemic and increasing case numbers putting a damper on large family gatherings for better or worse. As Colorado moves a number of counties into the “Severe Risk” category on the COVID dashboard, many places have had to reconsider some in-person Thanksgiving traditions entirely.

In past years, runners and athletes have laced up their shoes and hit the pavement on Thanksgiving morning for Turkey Trots all across the country. A brisk 5k can be a great way to work up an appetite, before the feasting begins later that day. The ongoing pandemic has forced most of these events to move virtual or cancel altogether.

This year would have been Longmont’s 46th annual Turkey Trot. The decision to cancel the event was made in late summer, according to City of Longmont’s Recreation Program Coordinator, Samantha Calhoon.

“Due to restrictions on event size,” Calhoon explained, “we didn’t feel we could deliver an event that met both safety restrictions and participant expectations.”

Cities like Denver and Brighton have moved their Turkey Trots to virtual participation, while others have made the choice to limit numbers of participants or stagger start times. Broomfield’s Turkey Trot, which initially offered options for a 5k, 10k, and kids’ ½ mile run, has restricted the field to 5k only. Runners are split into 5 groups, with the start times every half hour to help maintain distance from the packs.

Virtual or in person, the charity runs go far to support their local communities. The Johnstown event will be held in person, split into two groups two hours apart. All participating runners are encouraged to nominate a family within the Johnstown and Milliken communities. Nominated families will receive a gift card for groceries, to help with the holidays.

Longmont’s run is set to resume next year, presumably in person if conditions allow. The decision to cancel outright came from a number of factors. “The virtual run space is a pretty crowded market,” said Calhoon. “So we decided to put our efforts into some other fun and engaging holiday programming coming in December.”

For those looking for a way to burn off their holiday feast, Longmont Recreations still has plenty of options, which include virtual fitness classes for those that prefer to be safer at home. Would-be Turkey Trotters in the area have plenty of local options.

“There are tons of other virtual runs, so for those looking to lace up on Turkey Day, I would recommend finding a virtual run for a cause that speaks to them.” Calhoon added.