NORWICH — The Norwich Family YMCA will be holding the 41st annual Turkey Trot 5K run and walk on Sunday, November 20. The race begins at 12:30 p.m., with a children's run beginning at noon.
Registration is ongoing and will be available up to the day of the event. Now through November 17 registration is $25, and then increases to $30. Registration for students is $20. Participants will receive a commemorative Turkey Trot T-shirt.
"One of the bigger tasks each year, that we usually start working on by early October, is what the participant and volunteer shirts are going to look like. We actually put a lot of thought into the 'look' of that years’ Turkey Trot," said Norwich Family YMCA Health and Fitness Director, and Turkey Trot Organizer of 16 years, Shannon Gawronski. "I really love this years’ shirts because of the simplicity of it. It simply states that our Turkey Trot is a 'Norwich Family Tradition Since 1981.'"
Registration is available on the Norwich Family YMCA Facebook page, and on their website, NorwichYMCA.com.
Those that would like to participate in the race virtually will also have the option again this year. Norwich Family YMCA Executive Director Jamey Mullen said the Y held an all-virtual event in 2020 due to the pandemic, and decided to bring the feature back this year.
"People signed up and they sent us pictures out running. We still did a shirt and sent it to them wherever they where. People where in Pittsburgh, and Colorado, you know, wherever they were living that still had ties to Norwich that knew about the Turkey Trot, or saw it advertised, or follow us on our Facebook page. So the virtual is pretty neat to see," said Mullen.
The Turkey Trot is open to runners of all ages. The Kids' Fun Run will begin at noon, starting at the YMCA and heading down Mechanic Street, to Birdsall Street, then Mitchell Street, down Merrill Street, and back to the Y.
"My very favorite part of the Turkey Trot is the Kids' Fun Run that takes place round the block right before the actual 5k. I love to see how excited the kids get to do their own, often first ever, road race," said Gawronski. "For many of our kiddos it’s the first time they get to run in the middle of the road, push themselves to run the whole big block, and have all of their parental admirers cheering them on. Sometimes it’s the start of a life-long love of running. I just don’t think it gets any better than that."
The adult's run will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the YMCA, moving in a circle down South Broad Street, to Division Street, to Silver Street, across Main Street to Birdsall Street, up Borden Avenue to Weiler Park, then to North Broad Street, and down back to the YMCA. Adult runners are welcome to bring young children in strollers, or dogs that are comfortable with crowds.
"We’ve had folks bring their dogs before. We usually ask the dogs and the strollers to stay in the back a little bit. As long as they know that they can handle large crowds, lots of kids, things like that. We just want to keep them in the loop with that," said Mullen.
The race route will be marked off and supervised by volunteers. Mullen asks participants and Norwich residents to be mindful of their surroundings while the run is underway.
"Use caution, as we are running the streets of Norwich. We do have it marked out and volunteers out, but we do ask folks in the community as well as the runners to be engaged and aware of their surroundings," he said. "Everyone’s pretty much done and off the streets by 1:30 [p.m.]."
Following the 5K will be an awards ceremony in the Norwich Family YMCA gymnasium. Mullen said the ceremony serves as a chance to acknowledge Turkey Trot sponsors as well as this year's top runners.
Several local businesses have also donated food and drinks for the ceremony, including chocolate milk from Stewart's Shops, bananas and bagels from Grand Union, yogurt from Chobani, and turkey sandwiches from Arby's.
"We have been truly fortunate to have so many businesses willing to donate money or products all of these years," said Gawronski.
Sponsors for the 41st annual event include NBT Bank, Burrell's Excavating, GE Aviation, Wilson Funeral Home, Arby's, UHS Chenango Memorial, Reese Marshall, Electron Coil, BYC Norwich LLC, Park Place Restaurant, Preferred Mutual, Matthew's Auto Group, New York Pizzeria, Fred's Inn, Wansor-Moses Chiropractic, Stewart's Shops, Grand Union, Walgreens, Enlightened Dentistry, Progressive Dental, SFCU, Chobani, NYCM, and Pizza Hut.
The Turkey Trot would also not be possible without the support of several local volunteers who offer their time to make the event a success each year.
"The rest of the preparation comes down to the great volunteers that help every year. It would be impossible without their help. The volunteers help me set up the registration and awards area and mark the roads the night before," said Gawronski. "Day-of volunteers help with registration, handing out t-shirts, serving coffee, bagels, handing out waters, setting up water stations and cones along the route, keeping participants safe at the intersections, and a hundred other last-minute details."
There's still time to register for the 41st annual Norwich Family YMCA Turkey Trot. The event not only promotes staying active and involved in the community, but also supports the YMCA in providing athletic programs for all ages.
"I think everyone should participate, whether they walk or run, carry a flag or push a stroller, because it just feels so rewarding to take the personal challenge and to be a part of the great community energy," Gawronski said. "Of course, it also helps fund the Norwich Family YMCA’s mission to benefit our youth and so many others in our community. It’s simply a win-win for everyone involved."