Fort Worth

Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot Celebrates Its 40th Year

Around 8,000 people gathered in-person Thursday morning for the first time since 2019

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While North Texans woke up early to get started on the turkey, thousands of others laced up their sneakers for a big run — the annual Turkey Trot.

While North Texans woke up early to get started on the turkey, thousands of others laced up their sneakers for a big run.

NBC 5 is a proud media sponsor of the 40th annual Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot races.

For the first time in two years, families gathered Thursday morning for a Thanksgiving tradition going on 40 years. The event was completely virtual last year due to COVID-19.

Former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has attended for 39 of those years. The one year she took off was due to the birth of her child.

“For me it really is tradition,” she said. "It’s always fun to see family and friends here. I’ve watched friends have children and now their children have children, you see a different set of strollers every year, people with their dogs.”

Price was one of 10 inducted into the all-new Hall of Fame, which includes individuals or organizations who have supported the Fort Worth YMCA Trot over the years.

The first-ever Turkey Trot started back in 1981 with just 200 runners. This year's come back since the pandemic has been huge despite the cold and windy weather.

From babies in strollers to people as old as 92, around 7,500 registered to take part in the 10K, 5K and 1K runs. At least 37 states, Canada, Uganda and 467 postal codes were represented. Many more were also able to take part virtually.

“It’s so exciting to come out here and walk with 2,000 of your closest friends,” said Leslie Dell, who has attended the Turkey Trot every year for the last 15 years.

Every year, the Turkey Trot serves as the biggest fundraiser for the Fort Worth YMCA, helping the organization continue crucial programs that help local families in need.

“We raise about $1.5 million a year in our annual campaign to fund scholarship programs throughout the whole greater Fort Worth area,” said Mike Brown, CEO of Fort Worth YMCA. “This will generate a little over $150,000 in scholarship money that helps fund the YMCA. This is a big event for us.”

The YMCA’s efforts include benefiting essential childcare, drowning prevention and water safety, youth sports, health programs, summer camps, senior engagement, food insecurity and more.

“I go to the downtown Y two or three days a week and I watch young mothers come in and bring their babies in for childcare,” Price said. “They wouldn’t have anywhere else to go if it wasn’t for the Y because it’s a program that’s partially underwritten by the people that come to the Turkey Trot.”

Tarrant County leads the state in the amount of drownings and it really covers all ages and races. The YMCA has been working to address those challenges in conjunction with the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition.

To learn more about YMCA programming, click here.