Crowds for the city's annual YMCA Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk were so large last year, Fredericksburg Department of Economic Development and Tourism Director Karen Hedelt asked race organizer Terry McLaughlin to change the route.
So for the first time since the race began 19-years-ago, runners will not travel through historic Downtown Fredericksburg. Unless they choose to run in the Downtown Turkey Trot 2012 - "Ruffle Some Feathers", advertised on Facebook by a jogger protesting the change.
The official race will be held in Central Park, beginning at the Fredericksburg Expo Center.
For the first 17 years, the race started at the Central Rappahannock Library on Caroline Street, but McLaughlin said it outgrew that route and was moved to start and end at the James Monroe High School parking lot.
McLaughlin told Patch last spring he was fine with the move to the Expo Center, and had bee considering it anyway. He said starting the race at James Monroe had proved a problem, because the increasing number of runners created a log jam as they squeezed into one lane on Washington Avenue, approaching the right turn onto Cornell Street. "People had to stop and slow down," McLaughlin said.
In 2011, about 4,000 people ran the five-kilometer Turkey Trot and one-mile youth run, according to McLaughlin.
"Central Park is an ideal place because it will probably accommodate 6,000 to 10,000 runners," he said.
Fredericksburg resident Rabah Sbitani started a Facebook page earlier this month, seeking to bring people downtown to run the traditional Thanksgiving route.
"On the 20th anniversary of what has become for me, my family and my friends a tradition, the powers to be have moved the event to the Expo Center," Sbitani wrote on his Facebook event page.
"I will be going for a jog/walk on Thanksgiving morning. How about you? I will be in front of the library at 8:30 am and will start my run at 9 am sharp. I will be donating 5 food items to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank in conjunction with my jog and will have a donation bin available should anyone else care to do the same." As of noon Wednesday, 81 people had responded "yes" to his invitaiton.
Sbitani said he is bringing about 50, "really cool unofficial, unsanctioned, Turkey Trot Rogue Runner shirts" and encourages a $3 donation if you want one.
Meanwhile on the other side of I-95, packet pick-up for the official Turkey Trot runs 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21. at the Fredericksburg Expo Center and on race day from 7 ‐ 8:45 a.m.
Race day registration is available for $30 between 7 ‐ 8:30 a.m. The run/walk begins at 9:05 a.m. Complete information, including route and prizes, is available on the .pdf included with this article and at this link.
Which race will you be running? Take our poll!
Take photos of whichever Turkey Trot you run, and upload them to the Turkey Trot gallery above. Just click the link "Upload Photos and Videos." Thanks. -Susan