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Turkey Trot goes virtual to keep 30-year tradition alive

The ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot is happening in neighborhoods across the city this year to celebrate Thanksgiving.

AUSTIN, Texas — The ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot tradition is staying alive in Austin this year and celebrating its 30-year anniversary, despite the raging pandemic that has changed most things in 2020.

The trot won’t look like it ever has before. Instead, it’s virtual and happening in neighborhoods across the city at whatever time trotters choose throughout the day.

“It's at everybody's own pace of where they want to do it, when they want to do it. So actually, there's a lot more freedom this year to go out and do it. You just don't quite have that cohesive community of 20,000 people altogether,” said Mike Haggerty, executive director of the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot.

Normally, the Turkey Trot draws 20,000 people to the Long Center. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there won’t be any large gathering and the goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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“We can't all get together, but we're hoping everybody will still participate out their front door in their neighborhood, wherever they're normal running or exercise area is with their family, friends, whatever they consider their safety pod,” Haggerty said.

What isn’t changing is the cause. All of the proceeds go to Caritas of Austin, the group that helps people experiencing homelessness. In 30 years, the event has raised more than $4.1 million for the organization.

"The need for Caritas is very much, probably more significant this year than any year, although they always have – there's always more need for their services than they're actually able to provide," Haggerty said.

Trotters are still encouraged to dress up and be festive, then take photos or videos and share them on social media with #thundercloudturkeytrot.

The coronavirus can stop a lot of things, but certainly not the gobbling and this decades-long tradition.


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