Turkey Trot

Winning a Turkey Trot may not be as prestigious as finishing first in the NYC Marathon, but participating in both is equally fun and exciting. Start Thanksgiving Day in a healthy way with some exercise – whether running or walking five or 10 miles – and win prizes for displaying your creativity with the best costume.

Many people take the opportunity to start the holiday by entering a race to give thanks. The event usually has been organized with a charitable purpose. Proceeds go to shelters, food banks and even for medical research. Even more fittingly, most turkey trots are held in support of non-profit organizations and causes.

All across the country, from big cities to small towns, communities host turkey trot races because, the season just wouldn’t be complete without them. They have become increasingly popular. In fact, more than 786,000 runners crossed the finish line at Turkey Trots two years ago. Thanksgiving race participation has increased 16 percent since 2011. Some organizers now have to limit the number of entrants or add more courses.

There are more than 1,000 such races across the U.S., typically 5Ks or 5-milers, and ranging from the seriously competitive to serious fun. You can find one near you here. Some of these have been trotted for more than a century.

Best Turkey Trots 2016

Plymouth Turkey Trot, Massachusetts
 

Plymouth Turkey Trot, 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.

Run For The Diamonds, Berwick, Pennsylvania
 

Run For The Diamonds, Berwick, Pennsylvania

Forget running for the T-shirt as a gift. 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. The challenging 9-mile course is famous for its lung-busting Summit Hill and weather as rugged as the course.

Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot, New York
 

Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot, New York

This year's running will be the 120th and attract a 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. Since 1896 runners have competed in the cross country race. The race attracts serious runners, amateurs, and team competitors alike.

Honolulu Marathon Clinic Turkey Trot, Hawaii
 

Honolulu Marathon Clinic Turkey Trot, Hawaii

This is probably the most scenic turkey trots of all. A beautiful 10-miler through Kapiolani Park with Diamond Head to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other, although the exact course isn't revealed until the day. Another quirk: 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.

Ohio River Road Runners Club Turkey Trot, Miamisburg, Ohio
 

Ohio River Road Runners Club Turkey Trot, Miamisburg, Ohio

The race has been around for 38 years now, and it has a brand new course to fit the 10,000+ participants in the two events - 5 mile run and 1 mile fun walk/run. What’s also new this year is that entrants will receive a high quality hoodie. The location, Riverfront Park, covers seven acres of green space along the scenic Great Miami River.

Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Turkey Trot, Las Vegas
 

Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Turkey Trot, Las Vegas

The race has grown so much in popularity that it will feature a new Half Marathon and Half Marathon Relay this year. The signature 12K, 5K and 1 Mile are scheduled as well. The course is completely inside the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 20 miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip, and will remain on the packed-dirt of the Historic Railroad Trail.

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot, Denver
 

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot, Denver

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.

Run To Feed The Hungry, Sacramento
 

Run To Feed The Hungry, Sacramento

About 30,000 runners and walkers (10K run and 5K run/walk through tree-lined East Sacramento) come out to support what claims to be the largest Thanksgiving Day fun run in the U.S. - you have to pre-register if you want to be timed. All proceeds go to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, as they have since the event started in 1994.

Manchester Road Race, Connecticut
 

Manchester Road Race, Connecticut

This year is the 80th anniversary of the Manchester Road Race with about 15,000 people participating in 2016. Over the years, runners in costumes have become a tradition at the race, and contribute to its festive holiday atmosphere and spirit. The length of the course is exactly 4.748 miles. The top 10 male and female finishers get a monetary prize of up to $4,000.

previous next

For the complete list of Best Turkey Trots, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

More From The Active Times:
-- Foods That Nutritionists Would Never Eat On Thanksgiving
-- 15 Tips To Make Thanksgiving Travel A Breeze
-- Last-Minute Travel: Best Places In U.S. To Spend Thanksgiving
-- 10 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Actually Good For You