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The historic Troy Turkey Trot helps feed and shelter people

2021 is the 105th anniversary Troy Turkey Trot, the Capital Region’s largest and oldest Thanksgiving Day road race.{p}{/p}
2021 is the 105th anniversary Troy Turkey Trot, the Capital Region’s largest and oldest Thanksgiving Day road race.

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This year the Troy Turkey Trot is back in person Thanksgiving morning after being only virtual last year. This year is the 105th anniversary of the countries' 12th oldest road race, which began in 1916 as a way to support returning WWI veterans.

The event raises money for two organizations that aim to prevent hunger and homelessness.

Saturday, November 20th is the first of three early days runners can pick up their registration packets. Event director George Regan says this year they are trying to keep runners safe, and part of that is a tiered *drive-through" early packet pick up.

It is Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday at the Italian Community Center.

They're also trying to keep people distanced during the race.

We are making the start chutes longer. we are going to try to spread people out in the chutes, further apart so there is more social distancing," said Regan. "And we are asking them to wear masks, everybody to wear masks in the chutes.

Regan says logo masks will be given to runners, and they can take them down as they start running, and pull them back up at finish line.

He says needs for services for both benefactors, Joseph's House and Shelter and the Regional Food Bank of NENY have skyrocketed.

Our mission is to alleviate hunger in the 23 counties of New York," said Molly Nicol, CEO, Regional Food Bank of NENY. "And as you know in the pandemic, our need went up 40-percent. We thought it was ramping down a little bit, but if you've been to the grocery store lately, you can see the prices rising, price of fuel is risen. We now are back to pandemic levels of needs.

Nicol says every dollar you donate equals four meals and that they always look for volunteers.

The other benefactor of the race, Joseph's House, has faced considerable challenges over the last 18 months, serving more than two two thousand people, all while expanding programs while many things were shutting down.

Kevin O'Connor, Executive Director, Joseph's House and Shelter

We expanded the outreach team by a 3rd", said Kevin O'Connor, Executive Director, Joseph's House and Shelter. "We expanded our outreach team to the community. We expanded our hours. We expanded our rapid rehousing funds. That is a fund to help move people quicker out of the shelter into the community and we also started a diversion program.

The diversion program helps to intervene, to help people before they become homeless.

He says the volunteer program is slowly coming back.


The event, which started 1916 as a way to support returning World War 1 veterans, is a great way for families to jumpstart their holiday tradition. It begins at 8 a.m. with the Capital Region’s only Thanksgiving Day 10K and is followed at 9:30 a.m. by the Grade School Mile and Turkey Walk. The day’s main event, the 5K, takes place at 10 a.m. and includes the Trot’s famous costume contest with prizes on tap for the Best Thanksgiving Day Costume and the Most Unique Costume. Virtual options are offered for those who plan to be away or are concerned about being around others.

During this time of giving, participants and spectators are asked to help feed hungry families and provide warm shelter to homeless men, women and children by making a donation during online registration to the Trot’s two partner charities, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and Joseph’s House and Shelter. The need for services for both charities has skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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All participants are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to local food pantries. These items can be dropped off at drive through packet pick up Saturday, Nov. 20, Sunday, Nov. 21 and Wednesday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Italian Community Center, 1450 5th Ave, Troy, N.Y. 12180 and in-person packet pickup at the Troy Atrium on Thanksgiving morning.

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