The 18th annual Tyler Turkey Trot 5K will go virtual this year, giving runners an opportunity to participate in the long- standing tradition at any location they desire.

Turkey Trot organizers were denied a permit to host the event by the City of Tyler, and were told the Mayor would not be approving permits of any runs or outdoor events until the Governor’s restrictions were lifted. The race usually draws some 2,500 people on Thanksgiving Day from all over East Texas.

The Turkey Trot has been a tradition for families for many years, and is organized by Michelle and Cune Peña. The race originally ran through Rose Rudman park but the location moved to Racquet and Jog five years ago.

Each year the race gives back to charities, and this year the benefiting organization is For the Silent, a local nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of sex trafficking, as well as helping victims.

 “We want to make sure East Texans still have a chance to come together and do something active on Thanksgiving Day,” said Michelle Peña. “We know that the pandemic has taken a toll on everything, especially our health, and it’s important that physical activity continues, even if we can’t race together.”

The Peñas have been passionate about health for many years, and currently operate Rise RX Fitness, located on S. Broadway Ave.

The virtual race will include a 5K (3.1 miles) and a youth fun run. Registration is open and includes a medal, tshirt, virtual bib and donation to For The Silent.

Registration is open until November 25. The current price is $25 for the 5k and $10 for the kids run.

Packet pick-up will be held at Rise RX Fitness, but participants can also select to have their packet mailed for an additional charge.

“It’s important for us to continue to support our nonprofits, because COVID has impacted them as well, and we hope that East Texans will register and continue this worthwhile tradition with their families,” said Michelle.

Sponsorship options are available. Learn more at

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