College Park Virtual Turkey Trot

All are invited to College Park's first -- and hopefully only -- Virtual Turkey Trot, on Thursday November 26th.

The popularity of Turkey Trots has made a chilly Thursday in late November the biggest day for running events in the world. Normally, one million Americans would take part in hundreds of events throughout the country. The focus is on doing something fun and healthy outdoors with family and friends ahead of big indoor gatherings. Racing, personal bests? Meh.

College Park parkrun, which offers free, weekly, community-focused 5K events year round normally holds a special Thanksgiving event on the beautiful Paint Branch Trail in College Park.

2020 is not normal. These things are not happening.

But getting active outdoors and connecting with friends and family, safely, is more important than ever.


Last year's Thanksgiving parkrun crowd of 250 was awesome! In 2020 we're looking for the same warm vibe, but with a bit less crowding.

College Park Virtual parkrun can help. Since early in the pandemic, this community has come together -- at safe distances, from six feet to six thousand miles -- to provide support and encouragement. Unlike other virtual events there are no fees, no swag, and no prizes. The focus is on sharing stories, pictures, kudos, and motivation.

The community-first approach of CP Virtual parkrun has been so well received that participation is even higher than in the regular face-to-face events. Since May, 600 individuals have recorded 5,000 activities covering over 20,000 miles. Most participants are in the College Park area and the DC metro region, but some regulars join from as far away as Hawaii or Rome, Italy. Some locals join when they are traveling.

College Park Virtual Turkey Trot is a special Thursday edition of CP Virtual parkrun (the 31st CPVp to be precise). With the focus on a safe Thanksgiving this year, we are especially looking forward to welcoming community members and family members who might not be able to physically meet up this year.


Derek Symer and his daughter Lilian enjoying the Paint Branch Trail in CP Virtual parkrun

Participation is super simple.

Run or walk. Go as far as you want, as fast as you want, wherever you want, any time on Thanksgiving through 8pm. If you want to share a time for 5K (or more), that's great. But it's also great if you don't want to. "I walked 2 miles with my dad," or "My dog and I jogged 5 miles in the woods" are also perfect. You definitely do not need to run. CP Virtual parkrun welcomes almost as many walkers as runners every week.

Tell us about it. We want to hear about what you got up to, maybe see pictures that you took along the way. There are many ways to do this: comment on the thread on the College Park parkrun Facebook page, fill out our online results form, email us at, or join the College Park parkrun "club" on Strava and tag your run as CPVp or CPVTT or similar. (Note, activities recorded as walks might not appear in the Strava club feed, so we recommend to report through another channel.)

Read about what went down. We collect activities, pictures, and stories and share them  through our social media and website. Check out our weekly reports to see how we roll.

Encourage family and friends to take part. Got relatives in another state? They can take part too. See how many family members can "join" you this Thanksgiving! Maybe send us a selfie, and we can make a family collage.


College Park's speedy Mayor Patrick Wojahn does his virtual parkruns in College Park, while his parents Dennis and Karen join regularly by taking walks in Green Bay, WI.

Four legged family members, too! We love our "barkrunners", and we know that their support helps us to stay active. At College Park Virtual parkrun the pups have equal rights, and we include their activities alongside the humans in our weekly results.


"Barkrunners" are very much a part of this community

Looking for a quiet and beautiful 5K route? The Paint Branch Trail in College Park is a great place for a run or walk at any time of year. The College Park parkrun 5K route is flat, pretty, and accurately marked and measured. There is no official meetup, but the trail is available at all times, it's never crowded, and if you show up at some time during the morning there's a good chance of passing friendly parkrunners along the trail.

If you visit the Paint Branch Trail, you might also find encouraging chalk messages. Or you might pick up a stick of chalk and leave encouraging messages of your own. Or you might see some cool new signs that will be making their debut along the trail for Thanksgiving.

The fine print. There's more information on College Park Virtual parkrun in our blog post from May: Introducing College Park Virtual parkrun.