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Craving a 5K this Thanksgiving? Many Turkey Trots have gone virtual

With the pandemic eliminating in-person runs, Tampa Bay runners are making the best of it.
A pair of runners wear stuffed turkey hats during the 2019 Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot in Clearwater.
A pair of runners wear stuffed turkey hats during the 2019 Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot in Clearwater. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Nov. 12, 2020
Updated Nov. 13, 2020

Every year, Dawn Bronson and her family wake up on Thanksgiving morning ready for the annual Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot in Clearwater. It is a tradition they have celebrated for the past 20 years.

But it’s 2020, and the nation remains in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the first time in its 40-year history, the Times Turkey Trot has been canceled. Due to the size of the event, no virtual race will be offered.

Related: Times Turkey Trot canceled due to pandemic

But that doesn’t mean those wanting to get in a run on Thanksgiving morning won’t have options. Many Turkey Trots have gone virtual this year (see list below).

The Bronsons haven’t given up on the day, either.

Dawn Bronson is hoping the commemorative 2020 Times Turkey Trot T-shirts she ordered (available here) will be enough to convince her family to still get out and run Thanksgiving morning on a nearby trail.

“It’s something we’ve always looked forward to,” she said. “We’re really going to miss it this year.”

Skylar Bronson, front left, takes a selfie at the 2019 Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot race with her mother, Dawn, center, and father, Rick, back. The Clearwater family has participated in the race for the past 20 years.
Skylar Bronson, front left, takes a selfie at the 2019 Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot race with her mother, Dawn, center, and father, Rick, back. The Clearwater family has participated in the race for the past 20 years. [ Courtesy of the Bronson family ]

In 2000, Bronson, 47, and her then-5-year-old daughter Skylar saw an ad for the race and decided to sign up for the 1-mile Gobbler. The two walked the whole thing together, finishing in an hour or so.

More family members have joined in on the fun in recent years. Bronson’s husband, Rick, will run the 5K with her, while her mother, Peggy, typically will walk the 1-mile with Skylar. Some years, there has been a group of 10 trotting together.

After the race, she starts prepping the turkey while the family enjoys the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“It’s great and a fun tradition,” Dawn Bronson said.

Related: Runners find solace, purpose in virtual races

Kathleen DeNardi and her sons, Michael and Richard, have taken part in the Times Turkey Trot every year since 2000, usually running together in the 5K race.

“We will miss the excitement of getting up Thanksgiving morning,” said DeNardi, 50, of Largo. “We will especially miss the family tradition we have incorporated. The Times run is the only run we never miss as a family, then we come home and watch the Macy’s Day Parade and football games.”

Related: Citrus Hills runner maps out quests close to her heart

Before the race, DeNardi usually prepares the family’s Thanksgiving meal. The run gives the family of three a chance to be with their friends and community.

This year, however, they also plan on running in their neighborhood on Thanksgiving morning.

“The Times Turkey Trot surely makes Thanksgiving even better, because you start the day out with seeing friends first,” DeNardi said. “And we as a family are grateful for our friends in the community.”

Looking for a Turkey Trot? Here’s a list of virtual races you can sign up for:

Goody Goody Turkey Gobble

Distance: 5K

Cost: $31.69 includes processing fee and T-shirt.

When: Nov. 22-28

Register here

World’s Largest Turkey Trot 2020

Distance: 6.2 miles

Cost: Registration free. Medal $25, “Feast Mode” T-shirt $25, commemorative coin $17.

When: Nov. 26-29

Register here

Wiregrass Wobble Turkey Trot

Distance: 5K

Cost: $38.96 includes registration fee and T-shirt. (Additional $7 shipping fee if you choose not to pick up your packet in Tampa)

When: Nov. 1-30

Register here

Running with the Rowdies

Distance: 5K

Cost: $32.65 for standard registration (includes processing fee, medal, racing bib and finisher’s certificate) and $52.65 for premium registration (includes processing fee, medal, racing bib, finisher’s certificate and Rowdies ticket voucher valid for two Rowdies Reserved tickers for a 2021 regular season home game)

When: Nov. 26 (or a date of runner’s choosing)

Register here

Coffee Pot Turkey Trot

Distance: 5K

Cost: $38 (includes signup fee and T-shirt)

When: Nov. 19-Nov. 30

Register here

Virtual Turkey Trot out of Charlotte, North Carolina

Distance: 1 mile, 5K and 10K

Cost: $37.25 (for adults), $18.25 (for children) includes registration fee, T-shirt and medal.

When: Nov. 26-29

Register here

Turkey Trot Virtual 5K by Active

Distance: 1 mile and 5K

Cost: $33.95 (for adults) and $28.95 (for children 10-and-under includes registration fee, T-shirt and medal.

When: Nov. 26-29

Register here

Turkey Trot Challenge

Distance: No distance

Cost: $33.30 includes registration fee and medal. T-shirt is an additional $20

When: No date range

Register here

Turkey Trot Virtual Challenge — Clearwater

Distance: 10 miles

Cost: $32.40 includes registration fee and medal. T-shirt is an additional $22.85

When: Nov 1-Dec. 12

Register here

40th Annual Tamarac Turkey Trot Virtual 5K

Distance: 5K

Cost: $19.50 includes registration fee, medal and short-sleeve T-shirt ($5 surcharge for long-sleeve). An extra $5 shipping fee is not included in listed price

When: Nov. 26

Register here

United States National Virtual Turkey Trot

Distance: 1 mile, 5K and 10K

Cost: 1 mile — $14 (no medal, certificate only). 5K — $16.50. 10K — $19.50 (extra $5 fee for medal shipping)

When: Nov. 26

Register here

Have an outdoor adventure we should try? Curious about the ins and outs of fishing seasons in Florida? Know a cool business or owner to profile? Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.