ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) – The 18th Abilene Turkey Trot looked a little different from most years.
“We had to change the way we race a bit,” said Joe Cook, president of the Abilene Running Club. “It’s not as extravagant as it usually is.”
There was still loud music, lots of footsteps and barking dogs waiting to leave for their morning run, but fewer people and no inflatable red start line.
“The numbers have come down a bit with COVID,” Cook said. “Usually we have 1,200 to 1,500 people, but this year we’re just over 700.”
Many of those 700 people were out very early, the sun hadn’t risen, and the West Texas winds would knock you out of your way.
“The fact that people show up regardless of the weather is amazing. Cook said.
There was also a virtual 5k for those who couldn’t be there to run, wherever they were.
“They could run it at home, they could run it when the weather was a little warmer, they could run it out of state,” Cook said. “We just want that money to go to West Texas Rehab.”
West Texas Rehab director of pediatrics JoBeth Willis said the Turkey Trot has raised more than $ 30,000 in the past three years.
“All of this money helps our patients get the coverage they need so they can continue to stay healthy,” said Willis.
Willis has been at the event for 18 years and has been helping for the past 11 years. However, this year she is supporting the cause even more by wearing her famous turkey hat with yellow running shoes.
She also said that running for the cause allows you to eat guilt-free at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
But before you take that extra slice of turkey, ham, or pumpkin pie, West Texas Rehab will still be accepting donations. You can find more information here.