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Webster Turkey Trot 2020: The tradition goes on

The Thanksgiving classic offers in-person and virtual participation

Photo Credit: Webster Turkey Trot Facebook page


Webster, NY - Since 1972, the Webster Turkey Trot has taken place on Thanksgiving Day for those who want to prepare for those added holiday calories.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, how is this community classic - which typically draws a massive crowd of runners - going to keep the tradition alive while still keeping everyone safe?

Never fear: the 49th Annual Webster Turkey Trot has not been canceled. Instead, the organizers, Yellow Jacket Racing, are offering a virtual race for those who did not already register pre-COVID. Virtual runners can participate in the Trot on their own time, burning those pre-Thanksgiving dinner calories safely.

Those who were already registered have the option this year to either proceed with the in-person race or switch to the virtual race.

Below are the details for each racing option.

In-Person Turkey Trot

Yellow Jacket Racing says strollers, dogs, and headphones are not permitted during the in-person race.

The 4.4 Mile Race and the 2.5 Mile Fun Run will have combined starting lines this year, and will be moved to the corner of Hold and Lake roads.

Runners can arrive at their convenience and start their run anytime between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

The COVID-19 Guidelines for this year’s in-person Trot are as follows (verbatim):

  • Masks must be worn leading up to the start of your event and immediately following the finish of your event.

  • All athletes are required to carry hydration with them while on course; there are no water stops.

  • Post-Race food will be prepackaged and in a bag. These will be handed out to you at the finish line upon completion of your event.

  • Remain physically distant by a minimum of 6 feet at all times, and no congregating before or after your event.

  • Packet pickup items will be pre-bagged and labeled with your name on it. There is no exchange of shirts or bib numbers available.

  • Throw out any of your own trash; do not toss it on the ground for staff/volunteers/other athletes to clean up.

  • There will not be an awards ceremony. We will email awards within a few days after the event is complete so we can compile results.

  • Results will be available online after the event.

  • Please check your email for specific race day and packet pickup COVID-19 Protocol.

  • No Spectators.

  • Upon completion of the event, you must quickly exit the area.

  • Please note, for those of you that live outside of New York State, you are signing a waiver agreeing to the NYS Travel Restrictions. If you have not met these requirements, you can not participate in the in-person event.

  • All athletes will have their temperature taken at the start line. Anyone with a temp higher than 100 degrees will not be allowed to compete and will be asked to leave.

  • Your start will be at your convenience and [can] happen when you are ready, anytime between 8 a.m.-11 a.m.

In-person race registration includes:

  • Chip timing

  • Pre-packaged post-race food for all participants

  • Live text and email results (runners must sign up for results notifications to track a runner)

  • Custom medal for all finishers

  • Hoodie

  • Digital finisher certificate

Packet pickup is only for in-person runners and will take place Nov. 24 and 25th, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fleet Feet @ The Armory, 155 Culver Road, #110, Rochester.

Below are the maps for each course:

Parking for the in-person Trot will be available in the lot on the corner of Holt and Lake roads at Parkview Lodge.

REMEMBER: Registration for the in-person Thanksgiving morning race is now closed.

Virtual Turkey Trot

For those participating in the virtual Turkey Trot, race registration includes:

  • Crewneck sweatshirt

  • Finisher medal

  • Shipping of the above 2 items to the runner’s provided U.S. address (no P.O. boxes).

  • Online race results

  • Digital finisher certificate

  • Digital race bib

Those who registered by Nov. 8 are receiving their packets before Thanksgiving.

The Webster Turkey Trot’s Humble Beginnings

The Webster Turkey Trot was originally formed by Jim May, a former Webster English teacher. May started the run as a way to keep his cross country team in shape on Thanksgiving. The Trot grew significantly over the years, with one of May’s former cross country runners, Dave Boutillier, taking over in the late 90s under his race directing company, YellowJacket Racing.

Safety First

With Monroe County’s latest designation as a yellow zone on the COVID-19 map, Yellow Jacket Racing has had to carry out its running events with caution.

“We have successfully been producing events since July and even into last week as our area went yellow,” the organizers of the Trot told the editor of Webster Online in a Facebook message. “The protocols are very strict and must be followed by all.”

They added, “Safety is of utmost importance. With the potential for orange level, that then enters into another discussion with the parks, but we have a plan for safety regardless.”

For the latest updates on the Webster Turkey Trot, follow the event’s Facebook page.

As Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, draws closer, runners are gearing up for the Webster Turkey Trot once again - no matter how different it may look this year.

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