Turkey Trots Return in 2021

After a light showing in 2020, Turkey Trots returned with a vengeance in 2021, with 617,915 registrants joining 640 Thanksgiving Day races across the United States. That represents record participation on the platform, due to both the return of the biggest running day of the year and increased usage of GiveSignup | RunSignup. We’ll check back in next week for some stories of race day and a deeper dive into successful events across the country, but for now, a quick look at the final numbers on Thanksgiving Day 2021.

Thanksgiving Day 2021 By the Numbers

The underlying numbers are clear: families were eager and excited to get back to their Thanksgiving in 2021. After a 75% decline in participation in 2020, due to both virtual-only options and strict limitations on in-person participation, registrations in 2021 were 15% higher than in 2019.

Compared to all events across the year, Thanksgiving morning races are more likely to be large events. In 2021, 28% of events hosted more than 1,000 participants and 2.5% Thanksgiving of events exceeded 5,000 participants. In comparison, just 2% of all 2019 races included more than 1,000 participants.

Website Traffic

Another measure of Thanksgiving Day engagement is traffic to all combined GiveSignup | RunSignup sites. These reflect RaceDay registrations as well as participants checking back to view their results information, RaceDay Photos, and more. On Thanksgiving Day there were 1.9 million pageviews.

2021 vs. 2019

COVID played a role in keeping the size per event down. Especially in the Top 10 largest events that were held on our platform in both 2019 and 2021. If we take out the Top 10, the average size of Turkey Trots went from 901 per event to 846.

Virtual vs In-Person in 2021

While in-person events reclaimed their position as the vastly favored option in 2021, the numbers also show that the role of virtual has shifted due to 2020. In 2021, virtual participants made up 4.6% of the total – a drastic drop from 62.7% in 2020, but also a notable increase from 0.2% in 2019.

Share of Virtual Participants0.09%0.1%0.2%62.7%4.6%

While there were a few significant virtual-only Turkey Trots (like the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot) increase in virtual participation came largely from hybrid event options that encouraged distant family and friends to continue their Thanksgiving tradition from afar. While just 9.6% of 2019 events included a virtual option, 35.9% of 2021 events allowed for virtual. Bigger events were even more likely to include virtual participants, with 64% of the largest 100 events offering a virtual choice.

Share of Races with Virtual Option8.8%8.1%9.6%62.7%35.9%

The implementation of RaceDay technology also saw growth in 2021, with 33% of races using the RaceDay CheckIn App to check in 48% of all Turkey Trotters. In comparison, in 2019, 21% of races used the RaceDay CheckIn App to check in 25% of Turkey Trotters.

Results notifications also made a comeback in 2021, with a record 139 events offering notifications and a total of 238,787 notifications sent.

Races offering Notifications738510368139
Notifications Sent112,937115,118189,35038,978238,787

For more details about Thanksgiving Day races view:

Interested in more trends in events? Check out our 2020 Trends Report and updates on Q2 & Q3 of 2021. And check back in late January, 2022 for a full rundown of the 2021 Trends Report!

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