Every November, the Celiac Disease Foundation hosts our annual Turkey Trot 5K Fun Run/Walk, an inspirational, in-person event that raises funds for celiac disease research to accelerate treatments and a cure. This year, to ensure the safety of all involved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation transitioned to a virtual event in the form of a Turkey Trot Virtual Cross-Country Challenge.

On November 14 and 15, more than 2,500 supporters from 48 states and seven countries laced up to move 3.1 miles (5K) “across the country” for a cure. Mapped on the Walker Tracker app as a cross-country route, participants’ steps were applied to the map, appearing as if they were traveling from coast-to-coast. Along the route, participants passed through ten landmarks, unlocking special sponsor offers and coupons at each one. Trotters began in New York and continued to pass through Princeton, Chicago, Nashville, New Orleans, Austin, Denver, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas, before ending at the Celiac Disease Foundation headquarters in Los Angeles, greeted by the Foundation team.

The virtual style of the event allowed Trotters to participate from anywhere and choose their own health adventure of any physical activity – including walking/running, mini-golf, ping pong, yoga, gardening, and more – that counted as “steps” toward the 3.1 mile goal. Each participant received an event t-shirt and bandana, with the option of a matching bandana for their pet, as well as a fundraising page, bib, race marker kit, finishing certificate, and more.

“I absolutely loved this virtual event! So fun to see pictures from all over and it makes being distanced feel just the opposite. We are scattered, but in this together. Seeing all the others with celiac makes me feel good knowing there are others like me, that there are others who understand.” – Ann Marie M.

Beginning on Long Island five years ago with just over 100 people, the Turkey Trot is a beloved event that continues to grow and empower our community while cultivating lasting relationships. Creating virtual teams with friends and family across the nation expanded the Foundation’s reach beyond state borders and strengthened our community, even in this time of social distance. The Celiac Disease Foundation is proud to have hosted this monumental virtual event that united the celiac disease community in a unified mission to raise nearly $200,000 for celiac disease research. Thank you to all the participants, sponsors, and donors who made this event a success for raising funds and awareness for celiac disease.

We invite you to view photos from our Cross-Country Challenge weekend here.

Our sincere gratitude and congratulations to everyone for their tremendous fundraising efforts, and a special thank you to the first individual and team fundraiser, Gabbi Saft, the second individual and team fundraiser, Zoey Kornblau, third individual and team fundraiser, Jack Resin, fourth individual fundraiser, Zoe Schepps, fifth individual fundraiser, Carol Eagan Sherrin, fourth team fundraiser, Rachel Judy, and fifth team fundraiser Nicole Kessler.

We greatly appreciate the support of our Turkey Trot Sponsors Schär, Crunchmaster, Enjoy Life Foods, EpiLynx, Mikey’s, BFree Foods, Jones Dairy Farm, Nairn’s, Tiger Corporation, King Arthur Baking Company, Fody Foods, UBS, Rue Insurance, Immundiagnostik, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Josie’s Best Gluten-Free, Celiac and the Beast, Goodie Girl,  Kinnikinnick, Gem City Fine Foods, Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York, CAULIPOWER, Jiaren Yoga, Senza Gluten Café & Bakery, Balls Vodka, & First 5 LA.

Didn’t get to participate in this year’s Turkey Trot? Donate to the event, an individual’s fundraising, or a team’s fundraising page here through November 30, 2020, to make an immediate impact on accelerating celiac disease research. Many employers offer a matching gift program, providing the chance to double, or even triple, the impact of your gift. See if your company will match your donation here.

Do you want to get involved in raising awareness and funds for celiac disease in your community? Learn more about Team Gluten-Free and make a difference today.