Annual YMCA Thanksgiving day run goes virtual

NOW: Annual YMCA Thanksgiving day run goes virtual


NILES, Mi. - A YMCA Thanksgiving Day tradition is switching things up due to the pandemic.

The 39th annual Niles-Buchanan YMCA Thanksgiving Day run is going virtual, allowing participants to run from anywhere. The run, which takes place on Thanksgiving day every year, usually starts at the YMCA in Niles. But, since the race is virtual this year, Chief Development Officer, Jill Haboush said people can still run the normal route.

“We just want to make sure everybody knows though that we don’t have the courses marked, and there won’t be any official volunteers or the police manning the traffic. So, we do just encourage everyone to be very careful out on your own and enjoying the morning with your family,” said Haboush. 

The YMCA Thanksgiving day run dates back to the 1980s, and it's the first time the race will be virtual. Haboush said it’s a family tradition that they wanted to keep going, even amidst a pandemic. Participants can run the 10K run, the five K run or walk, and the one-mile fun run from anywhere like their neighborhoods, or the park, or even on a treadmill.

This year there are 1,200 people registered and all proceeds from the fees will go to YMCA programming. People can track their own run time by downloading any app that tracks time and distance.

“So, we give them a week's time to complete it and they can go back into and log their time, for completed time and then they’ll be able to print off an award of a completion certificate,” Haboush said. 

Participants have until December 5 to complete their race. 

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