Runners flock to downtown Davenport for the 36th annual Turkey Trot

For some Quad Cities families, a pre-dinner run benefiting the Iowa Mississippi Valley YMCA is the perfect tradition.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Editor’s Note: The video above was broadcast on Good Morning Quad Cities prior to the race.

Thousands of runners had the opportunity to burn off some calories before Thanksgiving dinner while also benefitting Thanksgiving charity at the 36th Annual McCarthy Bush YMCA Turkey Trot in downtown Davenport.

For some, working out before Thanksgiving dinner is a family tradition.

“We have a real excitement with thousands of people ready to flock downtown for another great YMCA Turkey Trot,” said Luis Leal, Turkey Trab Race Director for the Iowa Mississippi Valley YMCA. “I’ve spoken to hundreds of people whose family traditions depend on getting together and getting downtown for a nice run or walk before the big Thanksgiving Day meal.”

The annual races began at 8:30 a.m. at the R. Richard Bittner Downtown YMCA on E. 4th Street and included 200-yard, 400-yard, 1-mile, 5-kilometer and 5-mile runs, with the course reflecting the layout of many previous events.

Races continue to benefit the Iowa Mississippi Valley YMCA. The organization describes the event as its premier fundraiser.

With help from sponsors McCarthy Bush, Rhythm City Resort Casino, UnityPoint Health, and Iowa American Water covering operating expenses, all race registration monies go directly to the YMCA, which supports children and families with early intervention programs, summer camps, and mentoring programs, in addition to memberships and classes for families and seniors.

“It’s really awesome to see how the Turkey Trot holds together not only our entire regional community, but the entire mission of the YMCA,” said Leal. “In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen such an increased need for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and experience healthy activities. We had a record number of summer camp scholarships. Over 20% of our family memberships receive support and 60% of our families participate in early intervention and child care solely because of support for events like the Turkey Trot.”

Before the race, GMQC’s Jonathan Fong spoke with Iowa Mississippi Valley YMCA Communications Director Frank Klipsch and a local runner/volunteer about the impact, experiences and importance of the event.

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