Both of Williamsburg’s Thanksgiving 5k races are back this year — but one of them has made some changes to ease the stress on Thanksgiving Day.
The Big Turkey Burn 5K, organized by Mettle Events, will not take place on Thanksgiving Day in New Town this year, but on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Billsburg Brewery by the Jamestown Marina, event organizer Ann Hupp said.
The decision to move the third-annual Big Turkey Burn from its previous location to Billsburg is the result of “a mutual decision” between Mettle Events and New Town.
“Instead of getting the entire family dressed and out of the house by 7 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, now you can come run with us Saturday after Thanksgiving,” Hupp said.
“So you really are burning off the turkey,” she added.
The other local turkey trot, the Blue Talon Bistro Turkey Trot, will return for its 12th year in traditional fashion, starting at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day on Prince George Street in Colonial Williamsburg.
After Mettle Events and New Town parted company, Billsburg reached out to see if Mettle Events would bring their race to the brewery.
“We’re super family oriented, and so is Billsburg,” Hupp said. “They’re a great group of guys. They totally get it.”
Hupp said she isn’t sure what to expect for attendance this year, because she’s never organized a race on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Last year’s race had 581 runners, and the first year had about 700.
“This is all uncharted territory,” she said.
This year, all proceeds from the Big Turkey Burn will go to the Mettle Events Foundation, the event company’s nonprofit organization. The foundation raises and donates funds to public school athletic programs for cross-country and track-and-field.
“It’s because we love kids,” Hupp said. “Children are our future.”
This year’s Big Turkey Burn proceeds will go to an athletic program at a local school in the Greater Williamsburg area, although that school has not yet been chosen, Hupp said.
Last year, $2,218.79 in proceeds from the Big Turkey Burn were given to the R.F. Wilkinson Family YMCA. Mettle Events also donated 11 boxes of food to FISH, a Williamsburg-area nonprofit dedicated to helping those in need with food, clothing and housewares.
Mettle Events hosts 92 races across the East Coast, from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Some of those events, such as the Billsburg Bunny Hops 5K for Easter, are also partnered with Billsburg.
“Enjoy the weather and get a beer, enjoy the view,” Hupp said.