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Troy Turkey Trot returns Thursday with new precautions

Now in its 105th year (74th running), the Troy Turkey Trot is the nation’s 12th and world’s 64th oldest road race.
Troy Turkey Trot Facebook Page
Now in its 105th year (74th running), the Troy Turkey Trot is the nation’s 12th and world’s 64th oldest road race.

Thanksgiving morning marks the return of an in-person Troy Turkey Trot after COVID-19 forced the race to go virtual last year.

Thanksgiving morning the Troy Turkey Trot will be held in the Collar City. Event director George Regan says the footrace began in 1916.

“This year, 2021, would make its 105th anniversary," Regan said. "In those 105 years, the event itself has run 74 times, or will be 74 times this Thanksgiving, the Thanksgiving of 2021. It’s a historic event. And it's a very traditional event. And it's, you know, it comes at a day that everybody is thankful that they have friends and family and that, you know, they’re blessed. They feel blessed. And that's reflected in the money that we raise this day, leading up to this day for hunger, and homelessness.”

Among new precautions this year as a result of COVID, masks will be available to participants and spectators in the Troy Atrium. They must be worn at the starting line, but can be removed out on the course. Face coverings must be worn again in the finish area. Spectators will be required to wear a mask at all times. Running in groups is discouraged unless runners are from the same household.

As of late Monday, nearly 5,000 people had signed up for the footrace, which has raised more than three-quarters of its $20,000 goal. Executive Director of Joseph's House and Shelter Kevin O'Connor says being a recipient of the Turkey Trot helps the charity advertise its services and obtain financial and volunteer support.

“We've had a really interesting year, as you can imagine, with COVID," O'Connor said. "And when, when all the rest of society was shutting down, we expanded our services, we expanded our services to provide more street outreach for the for the increased numbers of people that are out there, we added a third outreach team that goes out every day of the year to connect with folks. We added a new program that helps people divert unnecessary entries into the shelter system so we can find alternatives before they need to shelter out in the community to avoid becoming unhoused. And we also have a rapid rehousing program that we got a grant, an emergency COVID grant for to move people quicker out into the community. “

Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York CEO Molly Nicol says prior to COVID, the food bank distributed 41 million pounds of food a year. During COVID, that increased to nearly 56 million pounds.

“Donations from the Troy Turkey Trot go a long way to helping us acquire food for our neighbors in need," said Nicol. "For every $1 that our Trotter donates, we can provide four meals for people in this community. “

Regan says there is a virtual option this year:

“You can download the virtual option, go right to your device, preferably a device that the device that you'll be carrying with you when you're running," said Regan. "So most likely, it's going to be your cell phone. And that has, and actually puts on it, the Troy Turkey Trot course map. So you can run your own course the course that you're picking, but you look at your phone, and you'll be running the Troy Turkey Trot course.”

The race begins at 8 a.m. with the 10K, followed by the Grade School Mile and the 5K. Here's a link to register to run or learn more.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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