Ready, set, go-bble: Prospect Park gears up for return of annual Turkey Trot

Gobble, gobble: The beloved Prospect Park Turkey Trot returns for its first official in-person race since 2019 this Thanksgiving Day.
Brooklyn Paper file photo

Runners of all ages are lacing up for the official return of Prospect Park’s beloved Turkey Trot, a five-mile race held each Thanksgiving in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

The sold-out event has been a holiday ritual since the Prospect Park Track Club’s inception in 1970, according to race co-director Will Ngo.

“The race typically sells out with around 2,700 participants and it’s a race that sells out every year — almost a month before the race actually happens,” Ngo told Brooklyn Paper.

And that response remained, even throughout the pandemic. In 2020, Brooklyn’s Turkey Trot was held virtually, though some runners still came out to participate in person.

“Some folks chose to wake up on Thanksgiving and run the course anyway,” Ngo said. “We set out mile makers on the course just in case anyone wanted to run it on their own.”

Left to right: Natanna Cortijo, daughter Bayla, and Josie Wold brave a particularly snowy Turkey Trot in 2014.Brooklyn Paper file photo

Ngo said race proceeds are typically donated to local nonprofits, like Providence House and CHiPS Soup Kitchen. Keeping with the Thanksgiving tradition, the club is partnering this year with The Campaign Against Hunger, a Brooklyn-based organization “working to tackle hunger and poverty in underserved and marginalized communities across NYC.”

“We felt that TCAH was the best fit this year, especially given the holiday,” Ngo said. “Similar to Thanksgiving, the race for a lot of us is about coming together and celebrating this sport that’s brought us together, but also trying to remember those less fortunate and contributing in whatever way we can.”

For many, the friendly holiday competition is a part of their family’s Thanksgiving traditions — whether they’re lacing up to run or rooting on a loved one from the sidelines.

“For some folks, it’s how they start the holiday season. Especially for a lot of runners,” said Ngo. “We’ll have a lot of members run it but most of the folks that run it are not our club members. It’s a lot of folks from the community and it’s a really great run for folks to do with their families.”

This year’s participants will get a club hat, race bib and medal, while the top three men, women and gender non-binary runners will each receive a celebratory pie.