Virtual Turkey Trot runs through Thanksgiving weekend

Event helps support Helpline House

The 11th annual Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot has diverted its plans for a virtual, weekend-long event due to COVID-19.

The virtual 5K/1 mile run began on Thanksgiving and will carry on through the weekend on, around or beyond Bainbridge and welcomes runners and walkers of all ages. The event helps support Helpline House’s commitment to supporting local households for a healthy and whole community, raising over $230,00 since its inception in 2010.

“We wanted to continue the family friendly event while keeping everyone safe,” said Debbie Stearns, communications manager for Helpline. “We have a great group of supporters and knew everyone would be looking forward to this holiday tradition. Our goal is to continue the spirit and tradition of folks gathering with their families and to get a morning run in anytime, anywhere, but feel they were still supporting Helpline House together.”

Stearns said staff and volunteers decided to plan the virtual event in the spring rather than holding off to see if they could somehow make an in-person event work. Last year’s in-person event had 1,245 participants and 100 teams.

“We’ll miss the buzz of the many dedicated volunteers, vendors and large group of runners and Turkey-day costumes, but it’s more important everyone will be safe and enjoying their holiday walk or run anytime they want during the four-day weekend,” she said.

Although the event has gone virtual, Stearns said the event is still garnering interest because they are helping a great cause and also provides more flexibility for individuals and groups to do their run or walk when it’s convenient for them — even for non-locals.

“Folks have been very supportive of the virtual event,” she said. “There are participants that sign up every year since it began in 2010; some recently moved out of state and are very happy they can sign up for their family Thanksgiving tradition with us.”

Participants can plan their run or walk by doing it individually or with your “flock” and can do the run wherever they want, such as sidewalks, trail paths or at home on your treadmill. Folks are encouraged to tag the event @bainbridgeturkeytrot on Facebook or #biturkeytrot2020 on Facebook and Instagram to see photos of runners. Those who do will be automatically entered in the photo contest for best costume.

“We’re very excited about the photo costume contest,” Stearns said. “So many participants share their spirit and create clever costumes and drumstick hats. We can’t wait to see what runners and walkers come up with this year – it’s become a colorful tradition.”

Categories up for prizes include:

Spirit of BI Trotter – picture of participants at iconic Bainbridge locations

Wild Turkey – photo captures you in a very creative costume

Furthest Flyer – photo of trotter farthest from Bainbridge

Safest Rafter – photo of participants showing creativity while social distancing

Spirited Gobble Wobble – photo catches you in the most expressive trot

Spunky Turkey Chick – photo catching a young trotter with the most moxy

Corniest Canine – no need to squeeze your dog into our signature gaiter to win.

Photo winners will be announced the week of Nov. 30 and posted on their website, Facebook and Instagram. Prizes will be mailed to the winners. You can race anytime between 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving through midnight on Nov. 29. Once you’ve finished, upload your results at