Meet Bill: 84-year-old participates in YMCA Turkey Trot over 40 times

Story, photos, and video by Lawson Martin.

An 84-year-old man is lacing up his running shoes in preparation for the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, which he has participated in over 40 times.

Dallasite Bill Bond is a man who’s full of energy and doesn’t let his age hold him back on a tradition he loves.

Bill got involved with the YMCA in 1949 in his hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia. The YMCA had a bus that traveled the country, and in 1951, Bill took a YMCA-sponsored tour to Canada.

Bill was involved with the YMCA throughout high school. When he later moved to Dallas, his children went to the Town North YMCA, where they played soccer and t-ball and enjoyed swimming in the pool. Bill says his grandchildren also go to the YMCA to work out and do the Turkey Trot.

Throughout the years, Bill has also volunteered through the YMCA.

“It’s been a long experience with this wonderful YMCA,” Bill says.

Bill’s first experience with the Turkey Trot was in the 1970s when it was 8 miles long. The Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot has been a Thanksgiving tradition for 55 years, and organizers welcome friends, families, and athletes of all levels. The Trot has grown over the years and now includes a 5K race, an 8-mile race, and a fun run. Nearly 13,000 people attend the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot each year, and participants are local and from across the country.

Bill looks forward to participating in the Turkey Trot, a Thanksgiving Day tradition. He’s even won his age group in the Trot for several years and has medals to highlight his achievements. In 2017, the YMCA elected Bill into the Turkey Trot Hall of Fame by declaring him a Legacy Runner for running the Turkey Trot over 40 times. Those who become Hall of Famers have either participated in the Turkey Trot for many years, have won their event at least three times, or have been instrumental in volunteering or sponsoring the Trot.

Bill is running in the 5K this year, marking well over 40 years of participating in the Turkey Trot. Outside of running, Bill is an active man year-round, as he loves riding his bike and swimming.

“Three miles is something that I do normally, and there’s really not a lot of training today,” Bill says. “At my age, I’m no longer trying to compete for the best time. It’s the fun of it!”

At 84 years old, Bill emphasizes his steadfast belief in the importance of incorporating daily exercise and maintaining a healthy diet for overall well-being.

“I’ve been very fortunate with my health at my age that I’m able to continue this, and I try my best to live a very healthy life,” Bill says.

But the Turkey Trot is more than getting exercise on Thanksgiving morning. All proceeds from the Turkey Trot go directly to the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, supporting programs and initiatives to foster strong, healthy, and connected communities.

“It’s an amazing outreach organization that’s been with us so many years and is doing such wonderful things,” Bill says.

According to the YMCA, the Turkey Trot is a celebration of community, which is Bill’s favorite part of the race.

“It’s the people,” Bill says. “It’s seeing thousands and thousands of people enjoying a day outside, getting exercise, enjoying the most important thing, and that’s being thankful that we live in a country like this.”

Participants of the Turkey Trot can expect a morning full of live music, food, activities, and fun for the whole family.

Bill hopes to participate in the Turkey Trot for years to come, even if that means he’ll have to walk it instead of run it.

“As long as I’m able to put one foot in front of the other, I plan to be at the Turkey Trot,” Bill says.

Click here to sign up for this year’s Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot or learn more.