It's news we feared, but pretty much expected.

Much to the disappointment of Grand Valley walkers and runners, the 2020 Grand Junction Turkey Trot has officially been canceled. An email sent to past participants said "we have waited as long as possible to make this difficult decision. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to cancel the 2020 GJ Turkey Trot."

The annual November  5K event typically draws around 2,000 participants who come out early on Thanksgiving Day to run and support the Grand Junction FIre Fighters Foundation. The Turkey Trot takes runners from Stoker Stadium through the streets of Grand Junction, down Main Street, and back to the stadium.

Zane Mathews

Last year was my first time to do the Turkey Trot and it was a total blast. For years I had wondered why people would want to come out on a chilly Thanksgiving morning to run a 5K. Now I know why. It's a wonderful feeling to get together with so many other people to do something you enjoy and to help a good cause. The event brings out serious runners as well as casual runners, and walkers. Some folks dress up in costume, and some folks truly make it a family affair with their kids, and some even push their strollers.

Zane Mathews

The turkey trot is a fundraiser for the Grand Junction FIre Fighters Foundation, which provides grants for firefighters, their families, and local residents who have suffered a significant personal tragedy. The race brings in about $55,000 to the foundation through registrations and sponsorships.

In a year void of 5K events, I have been running all year in hopes that somehow the turkey trot would happen in Grand Junction. I fully understand why the cancellation is necessary, but it is definitely a disappointment.

The cancellation of the turkey trot means we'll have to find something else to do on Thanksgiving morning this year - before indulging in a delicious meal and homemade pumpkin pie. I might just go ahead and run my own 5K that morning somewhere -  like on the riverfront trail. With any luck, by next November things we'll be significantly different in the world and the Grand Junction Turkey Trot will see a return in 2021.

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