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36th annual Turkey Trot brings thousands of runners to downtown Davenport for pre-Thanksgiving charity race

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

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Editor's note: The above video aired on Good Morning Quad Cities before the race.

Thousands of runners got the chance to burn some calories ahead of Thanksgiving dinner, all while benefitting charity at the 36th annual McCarthy Bush YMCA Turkey Trot in downtown Davenport on Thanksgiving.

For some, the pre-Thanksgiving-dinner workout is a family tradition.

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

The annual races took off from the R. Richard Bittner Downtown YMCA on E. 4th Street starting at 8:30 a.m., including 200-yard, 400-yard, 1-mile, 5K and 5-mile runs with the course mirroring the layout of many previous events.

The races continue to benefit the YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley. The organization describes the event as its number-one fundraiser.

With the help of sponsors McCarthy Bush, Rhythm City Resort Casino, UnityPoint Health and Iowa American Water covering operational costs, all of the race's registration funds go directly to the YMCA, which supports children and families with early learning programs, summer camps and mentoring programs, alongside memberships and classes for families and seniors.

"It's really awesome seeing how the Turkey Trot not only ties together our entire regional community, but the entire mission of the YMCA," Leal said. "Coming out if 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 scholarships for summer camp. Over 20% of our family memberships are receiving assistance and 60% of our families participating in early learning and childcare only do so because of the support of events like the Turkey Trot."

Before the race, GMQC's Jonathan Fong spoke to YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley Communications director Frank Klipsch and a local runner/volunteer about the impact, experiences, and meaning of the event.

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