The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day! This year, why not ring in Thanksgiving with a good ol’ Turkey Trot — a fun run for people of all ages to contribute to charity while burning off some calories before feasting on Thanksgiving dinner. (And if running Turkey Trots allows us an extra serving of Grandma’s famous stuffing or a second helping of pie, we’re in!)
Most Turkey Trots are put on to raise money for a local charity — so give back this Thanksgiving, while also doing something good for your body.
Turkey Trots take place beginning a few days before Thanksgiving all the way up to Thanksgiving morning.
Your typical “trot” is 3 to 8 miles long, but some can be a full marathon (26.2 miles)
Participants normally will receive a frozen turkey as a parting gift.
The oldest turkey trot dates back to 1896.
If you’re interested in participating in a turkey trot this year, here are 8 of the best turkey trots taking place around the country. Check them out and see if one is in close proximity to your home!
Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot
Taking place on Thanksgiving Day at 9 a.m., the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot invites runners to participate in either a 5K run or an 8-mile run. Starting and ending at Dallas City Hall, those who choose the 8-mile course will run past Reunion Park and across the Trinity River. If you don’t want to run, show your support by volunteering on Race Day!
Run to Feed the Hungry—Sacramento
Taking place in Sacramento, Run to Feed the Hungry is the largest Thanksgiving Day run in the country. All proceeds go to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. Choose either a 10K run or a 5K walk or run. The 10K run starts promptly at 8:15 a.m. and the 5K begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 23.
Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot
The Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot is the oldest turkey trot in the nation, dating way back to 1896. Proceeds from the trot go to making the YMCA’s programs more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford them. The trot is an 8K run or walk beginning at 9 a.m. sharp on Delaware Avenue and continuing into downtown Buffalo, New York. The race takes place in rain, shine or even snow (in 2000, the mayor had to have the streets cleared due to a freak blizzard!).
Des Moines Turkey Trot
Taking place Thanksgiving Day at 9 a.m., the Des Moines Turkey Trot offers three trots for turkey-lovers of all ages—a 5K, a 5-mile, or a tot trot for the little ones. Proceeds will go to providing a warm meal to a person in need on Thanksgiving Day. Participants will also receive their own free pancake breakfast, a race bib, and a winter “beanie” stocking cap.
Turkey Day Minneapolis 5K
Participate in the Turkey Day Minneapolis 5K for not only running, but fun! You’ll get hot cocoa and warm apple cider, there’s a kids carnival to tire the little ones out before you start cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and let’s not forget about turkey bowling. If you’re not in Minneapolis, Turkey Day 5K is also taking place in Boise, Chicago, Miami and Phoenix. Participants are asked to bring non-perishable food items to help feed the hungry.
Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot
Join Charlotte’s 29th annual Southpark Turkey Trot taking place on November 23th at 8:30 a.m. The largest trot in Charlotte, participants can choose between a 1-mile fun run, an 8K run, a baby jogger 8K, a 5K walk or run, or a tot trot. The event is limited to the first 11,000 people who sign up, and there will also be a costume contest and prizes awarded to the winners!
Mile High United Way Turkey Trot—Denver
Taking place in Denver, the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot is in its 43nd year. Participants can run or walk the 4-mile course—beginning at breathtaking Washington Park—or do the quarter-mile family fun run. Proceeds go to Mile High United Way, which is focused on improving childhood literacy and increasing high school graduation rates. Oh, and did we mention there’s beer? At the end of the race, you can check out numerous booths, freebies, and a beer garden (it is important to hydrate).
Atlanta Half Marathon
Plan on burning some serious calories at Atlanta’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon and 5K. Up until 2009, Atlanta hosted a full marathon on Thanksgiving Day, but now overachievers will have to suffice with the half marathon. To show support to Atlanta Mission, participants are asked to bring clothing to donate. Either donate prior to the race or wear the clothing you wish to donate as your “warm up” clothing and then shed it throughout the race. The clothing will then be picked up, cleaned and donated. All participants will receive a turkey to take home!
Find a turkey trot in your neck of the woods
Not seeing one near you? Simply Google your city followed by “Turkey Trot” for a list of trots in your area, or check out this listing of dozens of turkey trots in each region of the nation. With more than 300 turkey trots taking place across the U.S., there’s bound to be one close to you!