The Turkey Trots You Should Absolutely Run

The Turkey Trots You Should Absolutely Run

Photo Modified: Flickr / JBLM MWR / CC BY 4.0

The Turkey Trots You Should Absolutely Run

Photo Modified: Flickr / JBLM MWR / CC BY 4.0

For runners and non-runners alike, participating in turkey trots is among the country’s most popular Thanksgiving Day traditions. Even better, most turkey trots are held in support of charitable organizations and causes, which allows people to celebrate what the day is really all about—giving thanks and giving back.

The Plymouth Turkey Trot & the Pilgrim Thanksgiving 5K, Massachusetts


You can’t get much closer to the first Thanksgiving than this. The Plymouth Turkey Trot starts at Plymouth Rock, where the Pilgrims reputedly landed; the Pilgrim 5K runs down the oldest road in America, one that would have been familiar to settlers and Native Americans in the 1600s. The two 5K races start three hours apart so you can run them both — Turkey Trot second helpings.

Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, San Jose, California

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 13th year, the race has raised funds for charities. Participants have managed to donate more than $56.9 million over the course of the event’s history and 60,000 vision screenings and 4,000+ pairs of glasses for children.

Turkey Trot 5K and Fun Walk, Kirkland, Washington

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, running for 17 years, features live music, street vendors, balloon art, face painting, giveaways and more. Activities also include food trucks, caricature art, and a photo booth.

Dallas Turkey Trot, Texas

Thousands of people participate in the 8-miler and a 5K fun run/walk. The unusual distance came about because at the first race in 1968 the 107 participants were told to run along the shores of White Rock Lake “to the big oak tree and back.” Turned out that was 8 miles. In 2011, the race set a record for the largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Run For the Diamonds, Berwick, Pennsylvania

Forget running for the T-shirt. There are diamond rings for the first seven men home and diamond pendants for the first seven women. This centurion among Thanksgiving Day races is a throwback to hard-scrabble races of yore. This year's will be the 108th running of the challenging 9-mile course, famous for its lung-busting Summit Hill and weather as rugged as the course. 

North Shore Turkey Trot, Highland Park, Illinois

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. In addition to getting a personal pie as a reward for a race well run, participants will receive an award winning goodie bag and a sleek long-sleeved tech shirt.

Feaster Five Road Race, Andover, Massachusetts

Whoisjohngalt/Wikimedia Commons

Apple pie awaits the runners at the finish line of this 5-miler near Boston. There is also a 5K and a kid’s run at what bills itself as New England’s largest and most festive Thanksgiving Day running event. The race, which started in 1987, has attracted local stars over the years. Distance running legends Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson have run, as has actor Matt Damon and family.

PMCU O'side Turkey Trot, Oceanside, California

Recognized as one of the Top Trots in the country by Runner’s World Magazine, this California-based Thanksgiving Day race will celebrate its 12th 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) 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.

Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K, Atlanta, Georgia

This is now one of the largest half-marathons in the U.S., attracting thousands of runners looking to share the holiday spirit and to burn off four-figures of calories. Runners and walkers will earn their turkey as they finish their race under Atlanta's iconic Olympic rings. Post-race celebrations will be held outside Georgia State Stadium.

Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot, New York


This year’s running will be the 122nd and attract of field of up to 14,000. This 5-miler, founded by the local YMCA in 1896, is the oldest Thanksgiving Day race and claims to be the oldest continuously run public footrace in the U.S.

Honolulu Marathon Clinic Turkey Trot, Hawaii

Russ P./Yelp

This is one of the most scenic turkey trots ever. A beautiful 10-miler through Kapiolani Park with Diamond Head to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other. Prizes don't go the fastest, but to those who are closest to their own pre-race-predicted times. Practicing running at goal pace for the first ten mile of a marathon is what makes this Turkey Trot a clinic.

Louisville Turkey Trot, Colorado

All you need in order to run this free race is some kind of donation. It can be non-perishable food or winter clothing. Get some exercise before the big family feast. You’ll be trotting through Old Town Louisville. This year's course is brand new for Louisville with plenty of room to stretch your legs, set your PR, or just take in the festivities at your leisure.

Run for the Hungry, San Diego, California

By running you’ll be helping the San Diego Food Bank and North County Food Bank chapter meet their goal to provide 50,000 meals this holiday season to local families in need. Prizes will be offered to top fundraisers. Participating in the rave has become a family tradition since the first race in 2000. The runners enjoy being able to run or walk through beautiful Downtown San Diego and the Historic Gaslamp Quarter.

Fat Turkey Trail Run, Tempe, Arizona

Unlike most turkey trots this one is held after the big day so you can actually burn off all the extra calories you consumed. Other awesome reasons to run the race are because it’s in Papago and because it’s on the trails. All participants will receive a super soft non-white race tee and finisher medal. There are awards for top three male and female finishers, most likely something edible.

Bonfield Express Turkey Trot, Downers Grove, Illinois

The 14th annual Bonfield Express 5K will be held on Thanksgiving morning. The USATF-certified course takes runners and walkers through the downtown as well as scenic side streets. The raised funds are used for scholarship assistance to high school seniors at Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Lisle and Westmont high schools.