Pumpkin pie, stuffing, football games and parades are all part of the traditional Thanksgiving Day celebration. But for many people, it’s just not complete unless they participate in the Virginia Run Turkey Trot.
This year’s event, the 29th annual, is set for Thursday, Nov. 23, and both the USATF-certified 5K race and 2K walk will begin at 8 a.m. at the Virginia Run Community Center. It’s at 15355 Wetherburn Court, off Route 29 and Pleasant Valley Road in Centreville, and the course runs through the Virginia Run community.
“Participating in the Virginia Run Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning is a great way to work off calories before the big feast,” said event Chairman Meghan Logan. “More importantly, it raises much-needed money for a worthy cause.”
All proceeds benefit Inova Hospital’s Life with Cancer, the educational and emotional support program of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. This program creates a supportive community for children, teens and adult patients and survivors — and their loved ones — through a variety of programs and services.
They include educational, fitness and stress-reduction classes, as well as counseling and support groups. Regardless of where someone lives or receives treatment, these programs are offered free of charge.
“Everyone knows someone whose life has been forever changed by cancer,” said Logan. “With so many impacted, we’re fortunate to have this unique resource in our community. We’re proud to have contributed roughly $1.2 million to Life with Cancer, over the years, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, participants and those who volunteer their time. None of this would be possible without them. Last year, we donated $80,000, and this year’s goal is to reach $90,000.”
Each year, the Turkey Trot is dedicated to a Virginia Run resident who lost his or her battle with cancer during the previous year. This year’s race will be run in honor of Amy Miller and Gail Shedlick, who both died in September. “They’re two, wonderful women in our community who’ll be missed, and we’re happy to honor them in this way,” said Logan.
Some 3,500 people participated in the 2016 Turkey Trot, and 2,000 have already signed up for this year’s race — which, said Logan, is about 5-percent more than usual at this point. “It’s a family tradition for so many in the community,” she said. “We look forward to seeing familiar faces, year after year. Many are from Virginia Run and the surrounding area; but we also love welcoming out-of-towners visiting family for the holiday. We even have some runners from as far away as London.”
The event takes place rain, shine or snow, and there is no race-day registration for the run. Registration in the 5K is limited to the first 4,000 entries. Dogs and strollers aren’t permitted in the 5K, but they’re welcome in the untimed 2K walk.
For information about entry fees, individual and team registration, volunteer opportunities, packet pick-up, nonprofit charitable contributions and contacts, go to www.vrturkeytrot.com. Or see the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VirginiaRunTurkeyTrot.
The link to the race results will be posted on the event website by race afternoon. Parking will be available at Centreville Baptist Church, Centreville Presbyterian Church, Bull Run Elementary and Korean Central Presbyterian Church (KCPC), all off Route 29.
Individual prizes are awarded to the two fastest males and females overall and in the Virginia Run residents' category. The top two runners in various age categories also receive prizes. And since the race is always evolving, this year there’s a new team category, averaging individuals’ race times to compete against other teams.
“The committee thought it would be fun for families, friends, local businesses and the like to officially run together as a team,” said Logan. “We’re excited to see how many teams will participate to compete for registration in next year’s Turkey Trot, the Golden Turkey [trophy] and of course, bragging rights.”
All registrants receive commemorative T-shirts custom-designed by Centreville artist and comic-book illustrator Rich Seetoo. This year’s shirt features an orange turkey running into the sunset. The primary event sponsors are American Windows & Siding of Virginia, Ourisman Chantilly Toyota, Korean Central Presbyterian Church, Skyline Insurance Agency, Edelman Financial Services, InCadence Strategic Solutions, and RE/MAX, Jeannie Donahue and Nicole Hillyard.
The 12-person race committee has been busy planning the race since May. “We appreciate all the hard work of the volunteers and the generosity of the sponsors,” said Logan. “They’re what makes the Turkey Trot run — pun intended. We really couldn’t do it without them.” But more volunteers are still needed on race day, starting at 6 a.m., with set-up. To lend a hand, contact Helaine Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org or just show up.
This is Logan’s second year as chairman, after her dad — former Turkey Trot Chair Steve Logan — died of cancer in June 2016. “I’ve always been involved as a volunteer or as co-chair in 2015,” she said. “So it wasn’t a big leap for me to take it on as chairman.”
“I enjoy it; it’s been a family tradition for years,” continued Logan. “I have a vested interest in it, especially since we lost my dad to cancer. And now I have a much deeper understanding of how important Life with Cancer is and what it does.”
She describes the Turkey Trot as “a fun, friendly event that brings out so many friends and neighbors. Everyone has a good time, and it’s a great way to kick off the holidays, burn some calories and get ready for a big meal later on.”