And for good reason, too. What better way to kick-off a food-centric holiday than with a fun bout of physical activity? Even more fittingly, most turkey trots are held in support of charitable organizations and causes, which of course allows runner to celebrate what the day is really all about—giving thanks and giving back.
All across the country, from big cities to small towns, communities continue to host turkey trot races because, put quite simply, the thanksgiving season just wouldn’t be complete without them.
From the lake shores of the West Coast to the East Coast’ s New England area and everywhere in between, here’s a look at some of the top turkey trot races all around the U.S.
This California-based Thanksgiving Day race will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year and is somewhat of a holiday tradition for many North Country residents. With a 10K run, a 5K run (the most popular race, we’re told) and a 5K walk and kid's run, the event truly has something to offer for everyone. Plus it includes a costume contest and raises money for local schools and non-profit organizations.
November 26, 2015: osideturkeytrot.com
We love this race because it supports a truly wonderful cause. Each year, the Miles of Hope 5K Turkey Trot is held to help raise funds for Team Zoey, a nonprofit that raises money for the Progeria Research Foundation and that established in honor of Zoey Penny, a six-year old girl who was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare but fatal degenerative condition. This special turkey trot will host its fifth annual event this year and has already raised more than $143,000 for the Progeria Research Foundation.
November 28, 2015: teamzoeyrace.com
This classic event is one of the nation’s oldest and largest Thanksgiving Day races. Dating all the way back to the early 1940s, the race now hosts runners from all 50 states and several countries around the world each year. Featuring an eight-mile run and a 5K run/walk course, the event is welcoming to runners of all levels and abilities and offers spectacular views of downtown Dallas and more.
November 26, 2015: thetrot.org
Runners looking to cover a heftier distance should turn to Atlanta’s Thanksgiving Day race, which in addition to a 5K, also offers a half marathon course. Each year runners and even walkers join in on the festivities and celebrate by giving thanks for their health and fitness (and perhaps the chance to burn up a few extra Thanksgiving Day calories, too).
November 26, 2015: atlantatrackclub.com
This Denver-based turkey trot boasts a roster of fun and games for the whole family. Participants can run or walk the four-mile course in Washington Park or, if you’ve got little ones, you can opt for the quarter-mile Family Fun Run. Plus, the start village features fun, festive activities and after you cross the finish line you can collect your race swag and pay a visit to the beer garden.
November 26, 2015: unitedwaydenver.org
This long-lived event was born in 1927 when it hosted only 12 participants. Today, the popular Thanksgiving Day tradition sees upwards of 15,000 runners, all who flock to the streets of Manchester to celebrate the holiday over the course of about 4.7 miles. One of the coolest things about the Manchester Road Race is its effort to honor those who have serial participation records. The current record is held by Charley Dyson who has run the race 59 times, 41 of which were consecutive from 1969 to 2009.
November 26, 2015: manchesterroadrace.com
Another longstanding Thanksgiving Day celebration, this five-mile turkey trot has been hosting runners since 1907. The scenic course tours participants through New Orleans’ City Park and the entire event (which also includes a youth half mile race) raises funds in support of Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans.
November 26, 2015: runnotc.org
In addition to offering two race distances—5K and 10K—the North Shore Turkey Trot prides itself on providing its participants with some seriously stellar swag. This year, runners will receive a cozy-looking fleece trapper hat and perhaps even more appropriately, free pie (not just a slice, a whole entire pie) at the finish line.
November 26, 2015: northshoreturkeytrot.com
This turkey trot is so much more than a run and walk event. Located on the scenic eastern short of Lake Washington, this charitable event also features live music, street vendors, balloon art, face painting, giveaways and more. Plus, all proceeds benefit Hopelink, a non-profit that aids homeless and low-income families in the area.
November 22, 2015: hope-link.org
Likely the country’s oldest Thanksgiving Day race, this year the Buffalo Niagara YMCA Turkey Trot will celebrate its 120th consecutive year hosting flocks of runners from all around the U.S. and the world. The 8K course begins on Delaware Avenue and eventually leads runners into downtown Buffalo. This year organizers are expecting to welcome close to 14,000 participants and as always, proceeds from the event help to make local YMCA programs accessible to those who would not be able to afford them otherwise.
November 26, 2015: ymcsbuffaloniagara.org
Santa Fe’s largest 5K run, the Atalaya Elementary Turkey Trot not only offers local runners the chance to celebrate the start of their Thanksgiving day with a fun-spirited race, but also to support a good cause. All proceeds from the event help to fund local teacher stipends, classroom supplies and library books. Plus, all participants get a performance tech running tee and post-race treats including raffle prizes and pumpkin pies for race category winners.
November 26, 2015: newmexicosportsonline.com
Runners and walkers of all types are welcome to join the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, which offers a 5K, 10K and kid’s fun run course. Now in its eleventh year, this 5K is produced by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation and raises funds for charities like the Healthier Kids Foundation Santa Clara County, Housing Trust Silicon Valley, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County, and The Health Trust. Participants have managed to donate more than $5 million over the course of the event’s history.
November 26, 2015: svturkeytrot.com