45th Annual 2020 Port Washington Thanksgiving Run goes virtual

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Liam Regan, Staff Writer

Port Washington’s annual Thanksgiving race, the Turkey Trot, has unfortunately been moved online due to the current COVID-19 circumstances.  Although this decision was wise, it is sad that this race is not occuring as it usually would.  In a normal year, the town comes together and runs the race for a great cause.  Everyone has fun, no matter what their running abilities are.  However, the growing infection rate of COVID-19 in Port Washington and neighboring towns in Nassau County forced the race committee to make the run fully virtual.  

The race has been moved online to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is easily transmitted in large congregations.  Normally, people wake up early to prepare for the Turkey Trot.  Race day tends to be very cold, so most people wear hats and sweaters.  However, if the weather is nice, people stand alongside the race course and cheer on the runners.  Some people hold up signs for their friends and others ring bells.

Some people like spending the time with their family and friends, especially those who come from a different part of the country, who run the race with their Port Washington relatives.

“I enjoy running the race with my dad.  We’ve done it every year since I was little and it’s been such a fun time,” said sophomore Antonio Sottile.

It isn’t just a competition, it’s also an opportunity for people to enjoy themselves with friends and family.

The main roads are closed off to make the race possible, and according to the Port Washington News, police and fire departments work with various other groups to allow the race to happen.  Additionally, members of the Key Club and other independent volunteers assist during the race to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Understandably, many people around Port Washington were disappointed when the Turkey Trot moved online. 

“The Turkey Trot is always a very important event that brings everyone together.  People are always doing it with their family and friends and it is sad to see that it’s going to be virtual this year but it’s understandable due to the terrible circumstances that we’re in,” said sophomore Jack McNaughton.

Clearly, the race has a profound impact on the lives of Jack and others.  All of the money made from the Turkey Trot goes towards a local charity, the Community Chest of Port Washington.  The main goal of this organization is to improve lives by giving grants to causes that benefit local community members and by donating money to nonprofit organizations.  Additionally, people who run the race this year are asked to donate whatever they can to help with COVID-19 relief. 

“One of the best parts about this race is that it’s for a good cause,” said sophomore Kevin Reyes-Palma.

Not only is the race important for entertainment reasons, but it also plays a large role in helping people around the community.

Sadly, none of this can happen this year.  According to the website RunSignUp, 2020 Turkey Trot participants are to run five miles on their own on any day between Nov. 19 and Nov. 29, and then upload their times onto the website.  This is very different from the normal race because the aspect of the town coming together is what makes the Turkey Trot truly special.  The atmosphere created by the people at the race and on the course is incredible; it is a joyful and unifying feeling.  Without that, the Turkey Trot becomes less important in some people’s eyes.  People will still win in various categories  but because the race is virtual this year, everything loses some meaning.

Hopefully a COVID-19 vaccine will be readily available before Nov. 2021, so the Turkey Trot will be able to happen next year.  Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines have shown promise, so a normal race might be possible next Thanksgiving.