Just like they have almost every year since 1998, people are going to have a chance to run an organized 5K in Frederick County on Thanksgiving morning.

Because of changes made to comply with COVID-19 regulations, Frederick County Parks & Recreation is also offering people a chance to run the day before Thanksgiving this year as well.

At this point, running on Wednesday for the two-day event is the only option left for those looking to compete in the 5K race that starts at Sherando High School and travels through Sherando Park.

Each race is capped at 250 runners, and the race scheduled for Thanksgiving (8:30 a.m. start) has already sold out. As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, there were still 196 spots left in next Wednesday’s 5K (4 p.m. start). The deadline to register is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. The fee is $25.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and top three female finishers and the top master (40-and-over) male and female. Race times from Wednesday and Thursday will be combined to determine the top performers.

This year’s event won’t surpass last year’s 702 runners, but Parks & Rec marketing manager Tony Baker is pleased to help keep the Thanksgiving race tradition alive.

“This is a popular race for people who come home, and I’m assuming we’ll have some of that this year with people traveling back to the area,” Baker said.

Runners will be sent off in waves of 25 a few minutes apart in order to limit crowding in the race.

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter (WATTS). Traditionally, Parks & Rec holds a half marathon at the beginning of November that benefits WATTS, but that was canceled this year.

Baker said in the past, the Thanksgiving 5K traditionally benefits the Parks & Rec PLAY (People Lending Assistance to Youth) Fund, which is set up so fees are never a deterrent for youth to participate in Parks & Rec programs. Baker said the PLAY fund is doing solidly right now, so Parks & Rec wanted to make sure it continued to raise funds for WATTS.

Last year’s race featured runners from 20 different states and Germany.

Participants are encouraged to pick up their bib number and T-shirt at the Sherando Community Center on Tuesday from 4-9 p.m. People will need to pick up their electronic chip on the day of the race in order to receive a time.

Last year’s men’s race was won by Kevin Konyar, a James Wood graduate who is now a junior competing in cross country and track at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Konyar won with a time of 16 minutes and 55.2 seconds.

The women’s winner was 30-year-old Jillian Pollack of Arlington in 19:10. Pollack is a 2007 Millbrook graduate who also ran for Columbia University. Pollack was one of 390 women who participated in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

To register, go to fcprdrun.wixsite.com/runatthetop/thanksgiving-day-5k.

— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at rniedzwiecki@winchesterstar.com

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