The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the Brentwood Turkey Trot For Schools to go virtual.
The seventh annual event will use the RaceJoy app and runner creativity to carry out the Thanksgiving tradition.
Participants will have a two-week window, beginning Nov. 12, to complete a 5K race with the app, wherever they choose.
“A lot of races right now are doing the same thing,” said Phillp Rodriguez, a race co-chair. “It’s just the optics of us being a school district group and teachers. We aren’t even going to school. Trying to organize an in-person race, gathering about 2,000 people, is not going to happen with the county.”
The holiday staple, which launched in 2014, has routinely been held in person at The Streets of Brentwood, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced race organizers to pursue a different route.
The event will continue to benefit area school athletic programs, with proceeds divided equally between the Liberty Union High School and Brentwood Union school districts.
“It will be what it is,” Rodriguez said. “We can’t control it, but we are happy to at least keep the date. It’s the best we can do.”
The wildly popular event was capped at 2,000 participants last year, and would possibly have grown to as many as 2,500 runners this year, if not for the pandemic, Rodriguez said.
Record-breaking participation doesn’t appear to be lined up yet, but nothing can dash the spirit of the event, he added.
All participants will receive a finisher’s medal, a race T-shirt and a face mask during a pickup event in early December.
Rodriguez noted that although proceeds are expected to be lower, it won’t affect the immediate operation of area athletic programs.
“No one is going to lose anything other than added money they can use to get more things on the campus,” he said.
Registration is $15 for ages 4 through 11 and $20 for ages 12 and older. Runners age 3 and under can participate but do not need to sign up.
To register for the race, visit http://www.brentwoodturkeytrot.org.