6 Festive and Fun Turkey Trots to Run This Thanksgiving
Rounded to the nearest million, the average American Thanksgiving Day meal includes roughly 1,000,000 calories. A fun way to help mitigate this caloric tidal wave is to participate in one of the growing number of Turkey Trots popping up around North America. These Thanksgiving races are growing in number, popularity, and costume-adorned fun. I have chosen to highlight some of the best races across the U.S. that include multiple distances (including kids’ races) and that are in locales where the weather is typically above freezing. And as an added bonus, many of these races benefit local charities and community support programs as well.
Find a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Near You
DANA POINT, CA
Starting on the west coast, this flat, scenic event includes a 5K, 10K and a “Gobble Wobble” run for kids. The Dana Point Turkey Trot encourages its runners to “run the race before you stuff your face.” If you’re worried about time or if you need to be at the dinner table before the Dallas Cowboys or Detroit Lions games kick off, you can run in peace, as this race runs like clockwork because they are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year! This fantastic race benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley, among other charities.
Where to stay: Hilton hotels near Dana Point, CA
The Charlotte South Park Turkey Trot is so popular that the field has to be capped at 11,000 participants for the 8K, 5K, 1-mile and 26.2-yard “Tot Trot.” Every finisher, including the Tot Trot participants, receive unique finishers’ medallions and each little Tot Trot runner also gets a youth sized T-shirt! There is also a costume contest with special awards, but be prepared, the costumes are enthusiastically on-point! This festive event supports several charitable partners, including the McClintock Partners in Education and the Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte.
Where to stay: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Charlotte – SouthPark
LAS VEGAS, NV
If you find yourself in Las Vegas for the holiday, it might be a favorable idea to stretch your legs before sitting down at one of the many spectacular shows, hypnotizing slots or felt-covered tables for the rest of the day. The Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Turkey Trot is now in its ninth year, with participants competing in a 12K, 5K and 1-mile stroll. And new for 2017 is a half-marathon race, too. The route is on a paved asphalt trail, which for seasoned runners is welcome news and for newbies means that there is no vehicle traffic. The course passes through six different tunnels and offers beautiful scenic views of Lake Mead. And since it is Vegas in November, you can even safely bet that the weather will be nice and dry with cloudless blue skies.
Where to stay: Hilton hotels in Las Vegas
ROSEMARY BEACH, FL
Technically, this is the 30A 10K, but it does happen to take place on Thanksgiving Day, so I feel as if I have to include it! While this race is practically in my backyard, the idea of running along scenic 30A Highway following Florida’s Emerald Coast never gets old. And with it being in late November, the weather is perfectly crisp for the onslaught of endorphins after the race, so it’s the absolute perfect way to start the day before diving tongue first into the pools of gravy and pumpkin pie. This race is so much fun and the location is so idyllic that the event was recognized as one of the top 10 Thanksgiving Day races in America by Southern Living magazine. New for 2017, the organizers have added a 5K to the festivities, in addition to the 10K and 1-mile fun run. To date, the race series has raised more than $200,000 for local families and children in need across Bay, Walton and Okaloosa counties.
Where to stay: Hilton hotels near Rosemary Beach, FL
DALLAS and ARLINGTON, TX
Benefiting the Dallas YMCA, the Dallas Turkey Trot really proves that everything’s bigger in Texas. During the race’s 50th running this year, nearly 40,000 runners will line up adorned in head-to-toe costumes for the 8-mile run and 5K run/walk. Taking runners through downtown Dallas and parts of the city like the artistic and revamped Deep Ellum, this spirited and well-supported event is always so much fun for the whole family. Plus, the snack swag after the race is definitely some of my kids’ favorites.
And if you head across the DFW Metroplex to the neighboring city of Arlington, true Texas sports fans will love the eighth annual Arlington Turkey Trot. This exciting race gives runners a chance to race past the Rangers Ballpark and the new Cowboys Stadium (aka AT&T Stadium) on the out-and-back 5K loop. This race also offers a “Puffin’ and Stuffin’” 1-mile fun run that is always a good time for younger kids. The proceeds from this race support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Arlington.
Where to stay: Hilton hotels in Dallas, TX
Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Tips
- Sign up early because many of these races have capped participation rates. In addition, many of these races often sell out well in advance of Thanksgiving Day.
- Dress Up. Whether in head-to-toe costume or a simple t-shirt, do at least the bare minimum and wear some Turkey Day flair!
- Check your local weather and dress accordingly.
- Have fun!
If you don’t live near any of these races and the idea of starting a new Thanksgiving Turkey Trot tradition sounds like a fun thing for your family, or if you’re just simply interested in getting some exercise before the tornado of tryptophan hits your system, I urge you to check your local neighborhoods, communities, and running clubs for races and fun runs near you.
And to help make your pre-race morning less hectic regardless of where in the U.S. you opt to pound the pavement, stay at a Hilton hotel and enjoy a delicious breakfast cooked by someone else on your Turkey Day.
You may also enjoy:
- 5 Fun Family and Kid-Friendly Races Across the U.S.
- Tips to Plan a runDisney Vacation
- 3 Family-Friendly Themed 5K Runs
- Tips for Traveling with an Endurance Athlete
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Amy grew up in Southern California but has lived all over the globe. Her latest move brought her to Panama City, Florida, where she lives with her…