PERU — The Peru Lions Club John P. Adams Memorial Turkey Trot is going virtual this year for its 43rd annual event.
The event draws local runners and even some from around the country, but they can skip the travel this year and run from wherever they’d like.
“It’s going to be a different animal this year that’s for sure,” Peru Lions Club President Ed Eisele said.
Runners and walkers are given a time window this year from when they can complete either the 5k, 10k or one-mile run or walk, which starts Nov. 25 at 6 a.m. and ends Thanksgiving Day at noon.
Participants can register for the race on the Peru Lions Club website and will also be given instructions on how to email or text their results, which will be uploaded as usual.
While there’s more flexibility in this year’s event, the Peru Lions Club is encouraging participants to “keep the tradition going and run on Thanksgiving morning.”
While this year has been a challenging one with the pandemic, Eisele, who’s been a part of the Peru Lion Club for 36 years, said the annual Turkey Trot was a tradition worth keeping this year.
When the Peru Lions Club realized the coronavirus was here to stay back in June, it decided to let the Peru Elementary School know that they wouldn’t be holding a run at the school this year.
But after talking with Adirondack Coast Events, which handled timing in past runs, the Lions Club learned about the Plattsburgh Half Marathon, which held its run virtually this year back in May. It decided to take the same route.
While the Lions Clubs is expecting fewer participants this year, Eisele is encouraged by the almost 200 registrants who have signed up as of Thursday. Some have even registered from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, he said. He’s expecting more because usually, participants have waited until the day before to register to see what the weather is like. But in a year like 2020, it’s hard to say for sure, he said.
“So we’re not quite sure how much of an influx we’ll have with the weather and doing it virtually,” Eisele said.
That convenience of running from wherever is what Eisele is hoping will attract runners this year.
Proceeds for the Turkey Trot go toward funding of the Peru Lions Club’s local eye screenings. It's a critical fundraising event, but Eisele knows the community is a helpful one.
“People have been good to us in years past, and they continue to be good to us,” he said.