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    Giving an historic road race a boost.

Troy Turkey Trot

Troy turkey trot

Since 2012, Rueckert Advertising has overseen the public relations and marketing for the Troy Turkey Trot, one of the nation’s oldest and largest Turkey Trots.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic event organizers were forced to pivot to a virtual format in 2020. Although Trotters could no longer gather in person Thanksgiving morning, organizers wanted to ensure solid event attendance and maximize donations for the event’s two charities, the Regional Food Bank of NENY and Joseph’s House and Shelter.

To revolutionize the now commonplace “virtual race,” we utilized a state-of-the-art Troy Turkey Trot app that allowed participants to race with others, real time. The Troy Turkey Trot app gave participants a memorable experience and helped local families with loved ones around the country feel like they were connected through our event.

With the event going virtual, we felt there was no better opportunity to connect with other Troy communities than to invite them to join the virtual event, which celebrates family, fun and fitness. Invitations were sent from Mayor Patrick Madden to 14 other Troy communities across the nation extending a personal invitation to them and members of their communities to participate in Troy, N.Y.’s signature Thanksgiving Day event.

Impactful videos about our charities were created highlighting the influence of COVID-19 on their missions and the impact of donations made by Trotters during online registration. The videos were uploaded to the event’s website, as well as shared via social media and frequent email blasts to the database of 21,000 race participants.

To maintain the 73-year Trot tradition, we produced a 45-minute livestream Thanksgiving morning. The broadcast, which was hosted by WNYT Anchor/Health Reporter Benita Zahn and aired on Troy Turkey Trot and City of Troy’s website, featured live reports from the virtual leaderboard and interviews with Mayor Madden, the event’s charities and longtime participants.

As a result of our efforts, 2,632 participants from 36 states, two Canadian provinces and the nation of Turkey participated in the event’s 73rd virtual edition, which was held Thursday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Nov. 28. The largest swath of participants took part in the event’s 5K (1,791), while 569 Trotted in the 10K, 170 strolled in the Turkey Mile Walk and 102 children in the eighth grade and below competed in the Grade School Mile.

Although the Trot drew 41 percent of its 2019 field (6,400 participants), Trotters donated $18,500 — a record amount — to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and Joseph’s House & Shelter, during online registration.

“This event was a huge success in terms of raising funds to fight two insidious disorders in our society, hunger and homelessness,” added Event Director George Regan. “To raise more money than we have ever raised with significantly fewer participants says something special about Trotters’ giving spirit. These donations will make a major impact to these organizations as they feed hungry families and provide warm shelter to homeless men, women and children.”

“It’s extremely gratifying that so many people continued to support the Trot during these challenging times,” added Troy Mayor Patrick Madden. “The pandemic has caused a tremendous amount of isolation and our hope was to bring friends and families together through our custom mobile app, which allowed participants to race with others, real time, regardless of their location. It was tremendously heartening to have elected officials from Troy, Kan., Troy, Mich. and Troy, Ill. accept our invitation and participate during the event’s three-day running window.”