The fifth annual Turkey Trot for the Trail will benefit the trail in Cape Carteret seen here, which lies in segments unfinished. (Contributed photo)

CAPE CARTERET — The Turkey Trot for the Trail in Cape Carteret will look to raise spirits and funds on Thursday, Nov. 26, outside The GYM @ Cape Carteret Aquatic & Wellness Center.

The fifth annual race, held for the benefit of the Cape Carteret Trail Project, will feature a 5K and 1-mile, with participants encouraged to walk, run or strut in their Thanksgiving Turkey-themed costumes in what will be an entirely un-timed event.

Last year’s race featured nearly 400 runners, but so far, no number limit has been imposed as registration will likely be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event will be the second in-person running event in the county since the arrival of the novel coronavirus following the Beaufort Bridge Run on Nov. 7.

As it was for that race, measures will be taken to prevent the spread of illness, including sanitation stations, requiring runners to bring their own waters or Gatorades, offering a virtual option for the run and starting the event in waves.

“We are thrilled and honored to be able to bring a fun running event to our beloved local community, especially this year,” The GYM posted on its Facebook page. “We want to assure participants and our local community that we are taking appropriate steps to prevent the spread of illness at our event. We are asking participants to partner with us in our cumulative effort to reduce the spread by adhering to the guidelines we have set forth for staff, volunteer, and runner safety.”

Participants are not required to wear masks while walking or running the race, but event organizers are asking them to wear a mask at any other time.

Registration for the run opened Aug. 15 and will run through the day of the event. The course for the run will be a flat, 3.5-mile loop in the Star Hill neighborhood around the gym, or a 1-mile out-and-back course through Star Hill.

The 5K run will begin at 8 a.m. and the 1-mile at 8:15.

The first male and female runners to cross the finish line will win a pumpkin pie. The Best Dressed Flock (group) and Best Dressed Turkey (individual) will also win pies.

Packet pickup for the run will begin Monday at noon and will close Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 4 p.m. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of contactless pickup by calling The GYM beforehand.

Proceeds from the event will benefit completion of the Cape Carteret Trail, a 3.1-mile loop asphalt that will accommodate walkers, runners and cyclists. The goal is to link area neighborhoods, businesses, schools, public services, recreation and nature areas. The trail project will include exercise areas, gardens, nature trails, wooded areas and numerous memorial benches. 

Since 2014, the race has raised approximately $15,000 for completion of the trail, which already exists in sections in Cape Carteret on Highway 24, Highway 58 and Taylor Notion Road.

Town commissioners approved the listing of a $1.2 million bond referendum for completion of the trail on November’s general election ballot, but it was voted down by a tight margin of 762 votes (51.59%) to 715 votes (48.41%).

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