By Hannah Saunders
The fifth annual Woodinville Turkey Trot 5k at Wilmot Park on Thanksgiving Day has sold out. But those still wanting to participate can do so virtually.
“They can still join the race as a virtual athlete, a runner, or walker and then use whatever course they want to run,” event organizer George McKinnon said. “Then they can upload their times to our website and can see how they did in comparison to other people.”
According to George and his wife Liz, individuals from across the country have participated in the virtual 5k event. Initially, the virtual 5k was put in place due to COVID precautions last winter and the event founders think it’ll stick around.
“I think there’s no reason not to keep the virtual event as an option,” Liz said.
Liz and George started the Woodinville Turkey Trot event. Both are semi-retired runners and semi-retired business owners who participate in triathlons and long-distance events.
“We’re both runners and triathletes, so we do a lot of events ourselves,” George said. “We know a lot of people in the community and we just said, ‘Hey, Thanksgiving time is the perfect time for an event.’”
Liz and George have two companies that partner with nonprofit organizations to raise money through 5k, 10k and cycling events. Tortoise & Hare Race Timing is one of the couple’s companies that works with race directors for the timing of events. Their other business, Woodinville Running Company, owns events, including the Bothell 5k and the Woodinville Turkey Trot.
“The race (Turkey Trot) continues to grow,” George said. “Pre-COVID, we had 800 runners at the event, and with COVID, we had to switch to virtual.”
King County COVID guidelines currently call for proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative COVID test for outdoor events with more than 500 people in attendance. So, George and Liz capped the Turkey Trot at 450 and it quickly sold out.
“Each year, it grows like twenty to twenty-five percent,” George said. “It’s a kind of event where it’s part of their tradition.”
The Turkey Trot takes place between 8 and 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. The first event will be the Kids Dash. Kids 6 and under will run a course of about 200 yards. The Woodinville High School marching band will perform at the event, primarily for the children.
The 5k event begins at about 9:15 a.m. It’s a flat course that takes competitors around the Sammamish River Trail. Runners are required to wear a facial covering until crossing the finish line.
A portion of the proceeds and 100% of the sponsorship money from the event will go toward Woodinville High School Boosters for the cross country and wrestling teams.
As for the couple’s favorite parts of the Woodinville Turkey Trot:
“I love it when they dress up,” Liz said. “Everyone comes and it’s just so cute. They’re just out there enjoying it and making it a family day.”
For George, it’s the Kids Dash.
“It’s so cute,” George said. “They’re looking all around— they don’t know half the time which way they’re running. You can’t look at it and not smile. And we have someone dressed up in a turkey costume and they follow them.”
For event information or to participate in the virtual events, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/WA/Woodinville/WoodinvilleTurkeyTrot