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Before Thanksgiving feast, runners go fast at Drumstick Dash (copy) (copy)

Walkers, runners and turkeys line up for the Drumstick Dash on Nov. 22, 2018. The popular Thanksgiving Day 5k was canceled this year due to the pandemic.

With COVID-19 social restrictions becoming more of a marathon than a sprint this year, some annual holiday benefit 5K runs/walks and other events have pivoted to online as well as (or in lieu of) on-site options.

Pandemic concerns have already led to the cancellation of two local 5K events this month: the Haulin’ in the Holler race, in Eleanor, and the 10th annual Drumstick Dash and Citywide Scavenger Hunt, which benefits Union Mission and the WV KIDS Cancer Crusaders, in Charleston. The Dash and Scavenger Hunt had been revamping to virtual format options before organizers announced on the Union Mission Facebook page Nov. 17 both events had been canceled.

Ordinarily held at Ritter Park in Huntington, the 14th annual Huntington Turkey Trot is scheduled to be conducted virtually Nov. 26 through Dec. 3. Proceeds will benefit the Little Victories No-Kill Animal Shelter.

Turkey Trot participants can log their kilometers of progress in the virtual venues of their choice. They won’t be limited to a set start time; they can complete the 5K within a week’s time frame and upload their results to a tracking site.

Registration is $25 and can be made at or

For those who would still prefer an old-school, open-air running/walking course, at press time, the 2020 Hot Diggity Dog Thanksgiving Day 5K has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, at Kanawha State Forest Shelter #9 in Charleston.

Its proceeds will support the Putnam County Animal Shelter and Kanawha State Forest’s Buy a Brick fundraising endeavors.

The Hot Diggity Dog 5K entry fee is $30. Registration forms and more information are available at

Also, another decades-long tradition, featuring other feats of athleticism and endurance, is still on for Thanksgiving Day in Dunbar — barring any COVID-19 curtailment between now and then. The 72nd annual Commode Bowl football game between the rival Hillside Rams and River Rats will kick off at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26. It will be preceded by the boisterous (and all-vehicle this year) Commode Bowl Parade starting at noon at Dunbar Village Plaza. Spectators and participants are encouraged to bring bags of canned food items to donate to the Dunbar Food Pantry. The game is expected to be played at the Dunbar Middle School field, unless COVID-19 guidelines necessitate a change of venue.

For more information about the Commode Bowl’s status, contact Dave Wallace at 304-415-4175 or go to the Commode Bowl Facebook page.

Next month, the Arthritis Foundation’s fundraising 2020 Jingle Bell Run will take place Dec. 11 through Dec. 13 in a virtual format.

Each virtual runner will receive a Jingle Bell Run short-sleeve T-shirt, medal and sticker. Registration costs $35, is open through Dec. 13 and can be made at or via links on the Jingle Bell Run Facebook page.

For more information about the Jingle Bell Run, contact Deb Hartman at or 412-218-1987.

Because of the fluid status of COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and social restrictions, it is recommended to check the status of each event for updates regularly.

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