Get out and run: Top 15 Turkey Trot Road Races in America!
By Ian Spiegel-Blum
Anticipating a huge Thanksgiving Day feast? Burn off those extra calories by participating in a turkey trot. A time-honored tradition, turkey trots are some of those most exciting running events of the year. The events are held all over the country to celebrate the season and benefit local charities. Here are the 15 best courses to trot in the U.S.
The oldest is still considered by many to be the best! Since 1896, the Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot has been held by the YMCA every year. This 8K fun run weaves through the Delaware Park and benefits "YMCA programs and services accessible to people in our community who would otherwise not be able to afford the full costs." Arrive early for the costume contest!
San Francisco natives follow a giant costumed turkey leading the pack in this turkey trot. With three different options, including a five-mile running course, three-mile walking "Pilgrim Promenade," and a 100 meter Kids Gobbler Chase, the San Francisco Turkey Trot offers something for everybody. Prizes include gift cards, wine, baked goods, and a turkey to take home.
The world-famous Manchester Road Race attracts runners from all over the world with its $50,000 prize. Besides the normal turkey trot fair, the Manchester Road Race now offers virtual participation. Runners from all over the world can run on their home treadmills and watch the pre-filmed course go by on their screens. Registering grants you access to the app and video stream to participate. Register early before space fills up!
The Louisville Turkey Trot is absolutely free-so long as you bring a perishable good to donate. Thousands of runners from around Colorado participate every year. If you're visiting, make sure to acclimate to the altitude before running. But if you've been there for a few days, you're likely primed and ready to trot!
The biggest turkey trot in America, with over 40,000 participants, the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot set a record for largest gathering of costumed turkeys. This trot offers an eight-mile and 5K options, with a $35 entry fee for untimed participants and a $40 entry fee for timed. The "Tot Trot" for young trotters is free. Dogs and strollers are welcome!
The Turkey Day Run runs take place in five locations all over the country: Boise, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, and Phoenix. Register for any of the five races and receive a limited edition long sleeve shirt, complimentary race photos, post-race food and hot beverages, and access to the Finish Festival. Proceeds from the Boise race benefit the "Boise Rescue Mission's City Light Home for Women and Children, as well as our local Special Olympics teams."
The Michigan Parade Company hosts this annual turkey trot in Detroit. This "parade before the parade" draws one of the largest spectator crowds in Michigan. Highlights of the vent include the Strategic Staffing Solutions 10K, 5K Stuffing Strut Run (combined for the Drumstick Double), and medals awarded to all participants. Strollers and walkers are welcome.
Hosted by SOME (So Others Might Eat), "an interfaith community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless in our nation's capital," this annual Thanksgiving Day Trot has been run more than 15 years. Last year, SOME provided over 384,000 meals from sponsorships and entrance fees. The race starts on Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 for the Kids' One Mile and 9:00 for the timed race, leaving from Freedom Plaza.
Are you planning on second dinner and third helpings of desserts? Then you might want to check out the Atlanta Half Marathon. The 13.1-mile track is one of the longer races in the country. Finishers earn medals, shirts, and perhaps a fourth helping of apple pie.
Ever wanted to run with Matt Damon? Then the Feaster Five Road Race might be for you. The Feaster Five benefits several causes, including the Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm, which provides therapy for the disabled, the Merrimack Valley Striders, "whose mission is to encourage and enhance running at all levels," and the YMCA. Come participate in one of the largest races in New England. Note: Matt Damon not always included.
Ever finish a 5K and think, "I could really go for a nice brew?" Look no further than the Dana Point Turkey Trot in beautiful Orange County. Offering the usual 10K, 5K, and kids' options, the Dana Point Turkey Trot is notable for their post-race beer garden and two-day health and wellness expo, as well as the scenic views. Register early to avoid the long lines.
If like the Obamas you'll be visiting Hawaii for the holidays this year, then this turkey trot could be just what you need to curb your Thanksgiving caloric intake. This 10-mile race rewards participants who finish with times closest to their own predicted finish times instead of the top three finishers. Information is available in both English and Japanese, and the registration price is a cool eight bucks.
Run on the oldest public road in America in the historic Plymouth Turkey Trot. Since 2010, the Plymouth Turkey Trot has given $30,000 to local charities. Experience the location of the First Thanksgiving and then register for the Thanksgiving Day Buffet at the Plymouth Plantation close by.
The Annual Charlotte SouthPark Turkey Trot offers t-shirts and unique medallions to all who finish their 1-mile, 5K, and 8K races. Special awards are given out at their costume contest later in the day. The race is limited to 11,000 participants, so make sure to register early. Come support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Partners for Parks, and the Sharon United Methodist Church Youth Ministry by participating.
Perhaps one of the most colorful turkey trots in the country, the Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam is just 18 miles from the Las Vegas strip and attracts a variety of participants. The course is inside the Lake Mean National Recreation Area and charts its course directly through Six Tunnels straight to the Hoover Dam. This spectator friendly route "takes you on packed-dirt and paved trails...that were once used to haul supplies to the Hoover Dam in the early thirties." With 12K, 5K, and one-mile options, this turkey trot is a welcome jaunt away from the Thanksgiving-themed buffets of the strip.