LYNCHBURG, Va. – The pandemic forced Lynchburg’s annual Turkey Trot to go virtual, but that didn’t stop runners from keeping a Thanksgiving tradition alive.
“You run, you have fun with your family, and then you have a big feast,” said 10-year-old Asher Willis.
Instead of thousands gathering, 1,400 participants ran on their own time.
The Willis family joined a pint-size pack of neighbors in Forest, led by Alissa Keith. Her family placed markers around their community and a hydration station outside their home.
“We’re able to support each other and cheer for each other and just have a fun thanksgiving tradition, even though it’s a much different year this year,” said Keith.
Their goal was not the finish line, but to help HumanKind, an organization serving families through dozens of programs.
The nonprofit relies heavily on the annual race. It’s their main fundraiser.
“We normally raise somewhere around an average of $160,000 to $170,000,” said Ashleigh Karol, director of communications for HumanKind.
Karol expects the organization to raise half that, as their list of families in need is at 300 and counting.
“We had several families and programs that we serve to say they really need that extra this year to hold them steady,” Karol said.
Don Lucy received help from the organization when he was a child and founded the race decades ago as a way of giving back. The pandemic wasn’t going to stop his support.
“They gave me the start I needed, got me on the right track. And I can help others in doing that, too,” Lucy said.
You can sign-up through Sunday or just donate online. Each registration helps to feed two families this holiday season.