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news News Thursday, October 15, 2020 Thursday, October 15, 2020 9:59 AM - Thursday, October 15, 2020 9:59 AM

Virtual Turkey Trot and Roll provides a holiday tradition alternative

Benefitting the Greenville Shriners Hospital

Virtual Turkey Trot and Roll provides a holiday tradition alternative

The Turkey Trot is “the Most Popular Race in America,” declared Runner’s World one year ago. The iconic publication stated that, since 2015, Thanksgiving has surpassed Independence Day as the most popular day in the United States to run a race.

Turkey Trots – the fun-spirited moniker placed upon Thanksgiving Day races – first began in 1896 with an event in Buffalo, New York. Over the past century, the American tradition has grown to include an average of 1,000 separate events across the U.S. each November, garnering participation by nearly one million participants.

However, like many events during the pandemic, many longstanding Turkey Trots are being canceled for 2020 – with other organizations creating new virtual Turkey Trots to fill proverbial empty plates.

“We needed a new idea to replace our traditional fundraising 5K event scheduled for October,” said Paul Finelli, director of donor development for Shriners Hospitals for Children in Greenville, South Carolina. “We are offering virtual doctor appointments to patients online in record numbers at our hospital, so why not carry that same concept over to our fundraising efforts as well?”

Finelli said his team knew that not only was there a void to be filled for families on Thanksgiving morning, but in "the giving season" – a virtual event that also benefitted a charity would be well received.

The Greenville Shriners Hospital, a pediatric facility treating orthopaedic conditions ranging from common sports injuries to complex conditions like cerebral palsy, chose to label their event the Turkey Trot and Roll to encourage involvement by participants in wheelchairs.

“We know families may not be able to travel this year but would still like to share a holiday experience with their loved ones,” Finelli said. “Our virtual ‘Trot and Roll’ allows participation from an uncle in Dallas, cousin in Vermont and grandmother in Florida – and everyone is able to register for free, so there’s no hurdle for participation.”

The Greenville Shriners Hospital, which provides care for over 85 different conditions regardless of a family’s insurance status or ability to pay, will use profits earned from the race to sustain current programs and support new technology advancements.

The Turkey Trot and Roll runs from Thanksgiving Day, November 26, through Giving Tuesday, December 1. Learn more or register for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Turkey Trot and Roll.