The Thanksgiving holiday is known for its traditions and copious amounts of food consumed around tables filled with family and friends. While the spread tends to steal the show, the turkey trot tradition gives the bird a run for its money.
In 2016, there were 726 Thanksgiving Day races, which drew nearly 962,000 runners. So now that you have your run club up and “running,” it’s time to make it fun for all. These festive runners agree: The best way to kick off the holiday is with a few miles – turkey and dressing can wait.
Here’s our roundup of the top 10 most unique turkey trots in the U.S.
YMCA Turkey Trot – Buffalo, NY
Beginning in 1896, the YMCA Turkey Trot in Buffalo, NY is the oldest turkey trot in the nation. This year, the 123rd annual 8k race will wind its way through downtown Western New York. This race attracts serious runners, amateurs, and team competitors alike.
Manchester Road Race – Manchester, CT
What began on a rainy day in 1927 with only 12 runners has turned into the largest race in Connecticut. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in this renowned turkey trot, which attracts locals, tourists, and even Olympians. If you and your run club would like the chance to race an Olympic medalist alongside 15,000 other runners, don’t miss out on the Manchester Road Race.
Feaster Five Road Race – Andover, MA
Who would turn down a warm apple pie after a brisk Thanksgiving Day run? At the Feaster Five Road Race, the first 9,000 finishers take a pie home for knocking out the miles. A tradition since 1988, more than 10,000 participants head to Andover for one of the largest Thanksgiving Day races in New England each year.
Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon – Atlanta, GA
A slightly bigger commitment than a 5K on Thanksgiving morning, this 13.1-mile race takes you through some of Atlanta’s most famous city landmarks, including Piedmont Park. Start the race under the iconic Olympic rings and cross the finish line outside Georgia State Stadium.
New Orleans Athletic Club Turkey Day Race – New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is home to one of the oldest turkey trots in the nation. Sign up for the 111th annual race and make your way through the city with a five-mile run. And it’s fun for the whole family, thanks to a kids’
Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot – Charlotte, NC
Every year, thousands of runners participate in Charlotte’s Southpark Turkey Trot. What sets this race apart from the others?
Cedar Rapids Turkey Trot – Cedar Rapids, IA
This turkey trot places an emphasis on team. The bigger the team, the greater the prize! Grow your team to 10 participants and get a free cooler; have the “largest team” or win “best team name” to receive national recognition with $2,500 donated to a charity of your choice. Don’t forget about the famous warm cinnamon rolls at the finish line. You’ve earned it!
Dana Point Turkey Trot – Dana Point, CA
The Dana Point Turkey Trot takes place Thanksgiving Day and is one of the most scenic runs in the country. Going into its 41st year, this SoCal course winds along the coast and Doheny Harbor. You won’t want to miss the costume contest following the race! Runners are encouraged to don their best turkey costume.
Applied Materials Silicon Valley – San Jose, CA
For this growing turkey trot, you will want to register fast. Nearly 25,000 runners are expected this year and there’s no surprise why. With prizes for “Fittest Firm,” “Quickest Cop,” and “Fastest Firefighter,” you and your run club will have stiff competition and motivation for a themed costume. Voted one of the best
Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam – Las Vegas, NV
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is 18 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and offers runners a scenic course featuring the large man-made lake and the
We hope this list sparks motivation for you to participate in a piece of history before you enjoy your Thanksgiving Day feast!