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Turkey Trot returns in-person to downtown Grand Rapids this Thanksgiving

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Posted at 3:01 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 15:01:20-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Turkey Trot will return this year with both in-person and virtual options to raise funds for K-12 athletics at Grand Rapids Public Schools.

More than 1,600 people from around the world took part last year, and in 2019 nearly 4,000 runners and walkers filled downtown Grand Rapids for the last in-person event, according to a news release Tuesday.

Registration, which costs $35, is now open for this year’s event.

“We are so thankful to be back downtown for this year’s Turkey Trot,” said Dr. Leadriane Roby, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools. “As we continue to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Grand Rapids Public Schools, we look forward to safely gathering with familiar faces and new ones on Thanksgiving morning for this annual event.”

Blue Care Network of Michigan will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Grand Rapids Turkey Trot for the eighth consecutive year.

“The Turkey Trot has become a great, healthy holiday tradition for many families,” said Jessica Iloff, manager of community responsibility at Blue Care Network. “We missed seeing everyone in person last year and look forward to being able to offer this healthy start to the holiday.”

It will once again start on Fulton Street outside the Van Andel Arena and loop through downtown before finishing inside the arena on the main floor.

The virtual option will also return for those unable to attend the downtown race but still wanting to participate.

Proceeds benefit thousands of GRPS students who take part in after-school sports and enable the district to avoid having to institute a “pay to play” program.

“Thanks to the support we’ve received from the community, we’ve been able to keep our athletic programs going during the past year and avoid having to make families pay for these opportunities,” said Kurt Johnson, GRPS executive director of K-12 athletics. “Now more than ever, these activities are important for the physical and mental health of our students.”