Turkey Trot

Walkers and runners won’t gather as usual on Main Street in Baker City for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. The event will still take place virtually.

Baker City’s 13th-annual Turkey Trot fundraiser will happen on Thanksgiving Day, but like so much else this year the event will be different.

Runners and walkers will still complete the 3.1-mile course.

But they’ll do so whenever it’s convenient between now and 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Event coordinators Brian and Corrine Vegter had hoped as recently as last weekend to put on the Turkey Trot as usual, albeit with minor changes to encourage social distancing, as well as a virtual option for people who wanted to complete the course at their leisure.

But with COVID-19 cases surging, and Gov. Kate Brown enacting a 2-week “freeze” with additional restrictions in place statewide from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2, Brian Vegter said it was sensible to make the Turkey Trot a fully virtual event rather than have hundreds gather on Main Street in downtown Baker City.

“We feel the health and safety of our community is most important at this time and yet we still want you all to have an option to get out and be active as individuals or as a family,” Vegter said.

The Turkey Trot, which typically attracts from 250 to 500 entrants, is a fundraiser for the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center.

The Compassion Center, based in Baker City, helps local residents with a variety of needs, including paying bills, supplying firewood to homeowners and running a food bank.

Competitors can register online until midnight on Nov. 25. A link to the registration is available on the Compassion Center’s website: http://neoregoncompassioncenter.org/turkey-trot/

Entry fee is $15 per person.

In addition to registering, competitors should download the free Strava app (versions available for Android and Mac iOS). The app includes the route, which is the same as usual, starting in front of Kicks Sports at Main Street and Valley Avenue. Here’s a link: https://www.strava.com/routes/2763537509705479510

You open the app on your phone or watch and then click “Use Route” and then click start when you begin.

Competitors can run or walk the course any time before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Those who register will be eligible for prizes. They will be given to the top three women and men individual runners, and to the top three teams.

Team members should all run the Strava app when they run or walk the route. Team members should upload their results and all use the same name to keep team results in order.

Vegter encourages people to donate food for the Compassion Center as well.

People can drop off food at Kicks, 1801 Main St.; The Trailhead, 1828 Main St.; or the Compassion Center, 1250 Hughes Lane, during their business hours.

Competitors who are eligible for a T-shirt can pick them up at the Compassion Center on Tuesday, Nov. 24, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Vegter said he’s optimistic that people who usually participate in the Turkey Trot will do so this year despite the changes.

“People still have an opportunity to do something helpful for other people,” he said. “I hope this will give them the motivation to come out and do the course.”

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