Thirteen years and hundreds of thousands of footsteps later, the Blue Talon Bistro Turkey Trot 5k has had its biggest year yet.
Thanksgiving Day road races are becoming more popular across the nation with an ever-growing number of races and racers year after year.
In 2013, then-Blue Talon Bistro Turkey Trot race organizers said more than 1,700 racers had pre-registered for the race at the time.
Four years later, nearly 2,700 runners participated in the Turkey Trot, the most in the run’s history.
This year, Blue Talon Bistro donated over $25,000 to local charities, just from this year’s race.
“Chef Everett and I were blown away by the turnout and the amazing sense of community the emerges when you get this many people together for a Thanksgiving Day event,” said Adam Steely, Blue Talon Bistro co-owner and Turkey Trot 5k organizer.
Turkey Trot races on Thanksgiving have made the day one of the most popular times of the year to run a race, according to the nonprofit organization Running USA.
The number of races and racers on the holiday has continued to increase year after year both in Williamsburg and nationally.
In November, Greater Williamsburg hosted two separate Thanksgiving Day races: the Big Turkey Burn 5k and the Blue Talon Bistro Turkey Trot 5k.
Nationally, 490 Thanksgiving day races were organized in 2011. Five years later the number of races grew to 726.
While the number of races grows to new highs across the country and here in Williamsburg, many of the races give their proceeds to charity.
Both Williamsburg races give some portion of their proceeds to charity.
Literacy for Life, the biggest benefactor of the Blue Talon’s Turkey Trot 5k, received $20,000, according to Steely.
Five more charities received $1,000 each, Steely said.
At the Big Turkey Burn 5k, nonprofits such as the R.F. Wilkinson Family YMCA and FISH Inc. received either cash donations or non-perishable food donations, according to race organizer Ann Hupp.
While some of the proceeds of each race go toward charity, Steely said he’s glad to see the community come together on Thanksgiving.
“We had more than 120 volunteers come out at zero dark thirty to make it all work – that’s pretty amazing. You just can’t do stuff like that without a fantastic community.”
Rather than becoming “advertising geniuses,” Steely said he decided to host a race that would benefit all of Williamsburg — business, charities, and people.
Thirteen years into it, he said he’s come to love the race and the people racing in it.
“What a great community we live in,” Steely said before adding that the event supports the “sense of caring and support that makes Williamsburg such a great place to live.”
Literacy for Life did not respond to a request for comment.
Tom Davis contributed reporting.
WYDaily archives were used in this story.
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