The United Way of Central Arkansas will put on their seventh Turkey Trot 5k race this year on Thanksgiving.
This is one of the United Way’s biggest fundraisers since COVID, part of their mission is to raise funds for local charities and nonprofits in Central Arkansas.
“So far this year, we have awarded more than $300,000 to 17 local nonprofits for their programs such as providing home-delivered meals to senior citizens, assisting victims of domestic violence and child abuse, early childhood education services, youth mental health programs, emergency food and shelter and more,” Jennifer Boyett, executive director of the 5k, said, “Additionally, we provide services to the community such as free tax preparation, school supplies, financial education courses, and one-stop access to resources for those in need.”
This year's trot will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the kid’s mile starting at 8 a.m.. Currently there are over 500 people signed up. With sign-ups lasting until 15 minutes before the race starts, Boyett said she expects over 600 people to be there.
The race will be held at the Centennial Valley Country Club, runners will start at the event center and run along streets and golf course paths.
“The neighborhood and the country club are incredibly kind to let our runners use those roads and paths. In fact, many residents of the neighborhood make it a tradition to come outside and cheer on the racers each year,” Boyett said.
There are several different options for registration. One newer feature is the “virtual racer,” this gives registrants access to the race virtually if they can’t be there in person. It is $35 for adults and $25 for kids, virtual and not virtual. There is also an option for those that are in a wheelchair to participate as well.
The first 750 registrants are guaranteed a medal, which features an orange-and-blue spinning turkey.
Boyett said, “Our Director of Agency Engagement, Laura King, is incredibly talented with design skills and creativity. She came up with our logo for this year’s race. We think it’s the best one yet! The logo is featured on the t-shirt, the legendary spinning turkey medal and the neck gaiters that will be in each race participant’s swag bag.”
There are several sponsors for the race including Conway Corp, Axiom and Centennial Bank.
“Planning and preparation for the Turkey Trot takes several months, the generosity of amazing corporate sponsors such as presenting sponsor Conway Regional Health System, and of course, lots of volunteers,” Boyett said.
Each racer has the option to track their race time and have their results sent back to them via text or email. All racers will be provided with a bib that has their racing number on it. United Way’s website for the race, runsignup.com said, “It is very important that you wear your bib properly. You will not have to worry about a separate timing chip that you need to attach to your shoe; instead, the timing chip is integrated as part of your bib number. Because of this, your bib must be worn on your chest, stomach area or attached to the front of your shorts.”
Race packet pickup is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 23 at the United Way of Central Arkansas Office (1110 Oak Street) or 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.,Thursday, Nov. 25 at the race start at 1600 Centennial Club Drive in Conway.
Boyett said, “We hope that families and friends will come out and continue enjoying this Thanksgiving tradition that is designed to bring people together, and give everyone the opportunity to support our community in this season of giving.”