8 Amazing Thanksgiving Day Races Around the U.S.
Traditional images of Thanksgiving might conjure up a crackling fire, cozy sweaters and indulging in mashed potatoes and stuffing. But, the holiday has also become the most popular day for Americans to lace up their sneakers and hit the pavement before indulging in the traditional feast. There’s no shortage of Thanksgiving Day races to choose from, so we’ve assembled a list to highlight a few of the quirkiest, oldest and all around most fun from the panoply of races available.
Where: Dana Point, California
This trot sets itself out from pack, boasting ocean views with a course that winds through the picturesque Dana Point Harbor and Doheny State Beach. Celebrating its 40th year with an expected 11,000 runners in the 10K, 5K and Kids Gobble Wobble, rated by Fodors Magazine as a “Top Ten Thanksgiving Destination”, and with race-day temperatures in the high 60s, we don’t think you’ll need anymore convincing to sign up for this turkey trot.
Where: San Jose, California
This race pulls out all the stops. They’ve donated 6.9 million dollars to local charitable programs, collected 2.9 million pounds of food for hungry families, host a costume contest with killer prizes and are the largest fully timed race on Thanksgiving. Costume contest categories include Thanksgiving theme, non-Thanksgiving theme, and team competition. Prizes range from Alaska Airlines roundtrip ticket vouchers, The North Face gift cards, Sip by S’well water bottles and a Camelbak LOBO hydration pack.
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Join the New Orleans track Club as they host their annual New Orleans Athletic Club Turkey Day Race for the 110th year. This is one of the oldest, continuously held non-marathon races in the country. Runners cross the finish line at Tad Gormley Stadium, which was named after Francis Thomas “Tad” Gormley, the race’s original founder. Proceeds of the race benefit Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans.
Where: Dallas, Texas
Make sure you dress the part for this trot. In 2011, the race set the world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys! If that’s not festive fun, and dedication to Turkey Day, we don’t know what is! It’s also one of the largest multi-event races in the country, expecting 40,000 people for the 8 mile run and 5K run/walk. And if sitting on your couch Thanksgiving morning sounds more appealing than getting up bright and early to run, you can still sign up to participate in the race as a virtual runner— run anytime you like and you’ll still receive a race day T-shirt.
Where: Columbus, Ohio
Every participant takes home a pumpkin pie! (Yes, you read that correctly.) Running this race takes care of your dessert for the night, and maybe the whole week! If everyone in your family participates in the race— kids too—you’ll have a pie for each person, and with 5 mile, 2 mile and kids race options, that’s easy to do. The race also benefits the Early Intervention program at Easterseals Central and Southeast Ohio- so you can feel good while indulging in your pumpkin pie.
Where: Andover, Massachusetts
If you’re more of an apple pie person, this turkey trot is for you. The first 9,000 registrants will receive an apple pie and with an expected 10,000 participants, we think you have a pretty good chance of earning your dessert. The race, with 5 mile and 5K options, is also one of the largest Thanksgiving Day trots in New England.
Where: Louisville, Colorado
This turkey trot is 100 percent free to runners as long as you bring a canned good or winter clothing donation. The goal: to amass a donation pile so high you’ll want to get your picture taken in front of it. But, make sure you still sign up ahead of time to this family-friendly 5K.
Where: Plymouth, Massachusetts
While this trot doesn’t fall on Thanksgiving Day, rather the weekend before, it still gives runners plenty of race day motivation. Make your way to the finish line and find a complimentary pancake breakfast, and for runners 21 and up—an entire pint of Mayflower Brewing Company beer. The race boasts iconic views starting and finishing right next to the Mayflower II on the Plymouth waterfront. Plus if you’re a student you’ll get a discounted race entry fee.