November 30, 2021

Turkey Trot 5K to return

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

YMCA Executive Director Noah Beck, right, and office manager Billi Jo Enders check out the new 2021 Turkey Trot 5K T-shirts on Tuesday.

Although Greg Peppel moved away from Cortland years ago, he makes the trip home every Thanksgiving to visit his family and continue his tradition of running in the annual Cortland YMCA BorgWarner Turkey Trot 5K.

“I’m visiting my parents for the holidays and the race is a great way to feel connected to the community again,” Peppel said.

One of the great things about running as a sport is that there’s no judgment, he said; participants can walk or run.

“It’s a great way to connect with people and there’s always a good level of community support,” he said.

Peppel and his wife are visiting from Philadelphia this year with their 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. He hopes to make the Turkey Trot a family tradition.

“My kids aren’t old enough to run, but I’m sure at some point soon they will be thrilled to do it,” Peppel said. “Usually the Turkey Trots are more festive and fun, and less serious than other races. It’s a good opportunity to get out there and brave the cold weather for an hour, get some exercise before you fill up on turkey.”

The race will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, outside the YMCA on Tompkins Street in Cortland. The 5K will go west on Tompkins Street, take a right on Sands Street, cross onto Warren Street, turn right on Broadway and left on Pashley Drive onto the SUNY Cortland campus where racers will turn around and take the same route back to the YMCA.

“This is always our biggest race, and this year is especially exciting because we were dormant last year with no races during COVID and we’re kind of getting people back into the swing of them this year,” said Cortland YMCA Outreach Coordinator Hannah Gibbons-Arthur. “It feels a little more normal, and it will still feel safe because it’s entirely outside.”

More than 200 racers and walkers are signed up to participate Thursday, and all proceeds from the $25 registration fees will benefit the YMCA’s Membership for All Program, which allows all community members access to the YMCA regardless of financial restraints, Gibbons-Arthur said.

Online registration ends at midnight tonight, but walk-ins are welcome to sign up Thursday morning between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m. The registration fee will be $30 for Thursday morning sign-ups, Gibbons-Arthur said.

The details

  • When: Bib and T-shirt pick up from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 to 8:45 a.m. Thursday.
  • Race begins at 9 a.m. Thursday
  • Where: Cortland YMCA at 22 Tompkins St.
  • Cost: $25 per racer if you register before Thursday. $30 for day-of sign-ups.
  • Register online before midnight Wednesday by visiting:

“The race series is not only a fundraiser, but it’s a way for people to get out and stay active and healthy,” Gibbons-Arthur said.

“We want to be a place that is supportive, whatever your fitness level.”

The Cortland YMCA will also be collecting non-perishable food items at the race to benefit local food pantries, she said.

“It’s nice to combine the fundraising aspect with helping people achieve personal goals and stay connecting with people, especially after nearly two years of being isolated,” Gibbons-Arthur said. “The series this year, being outside and safe and seeing people again, has been really great.”