Throughout the country, Thursday of Thanksgiving week becomes race day, a tradition almost as important as overeating. One earns at least some part of the bounty coming later called Thanksgiving dinner. Here are races scattered across the USA. Listings are not intended to mean all-inclusive. These are great choices, but no doubt many more deserve notice. So, for you, the competitor, visit this list while seeking out other races that may fit your schedule and locale. They’re there just waiting for you like Tom Turkey awaits the guillotine. It’s destiny.
Perhaps the most famous Twin Cities Thanksgiving Day race, the Drumstick Dash, a chip-timed 10 km tracks around Lake Harriett, one of the popular lake runs. The Dash definitely rates high-test as Dan Greeno, Richfield, blasted a 32:15 on the field in the 2014 edition. They offer a dessert-event called the Pi Run, which is 3.14159, a singled lake loop. Cool, right?
Also, this Pi comes completely calorie free. Adorn the Drumstick with cranberry in the Cranberry Cruise mile or Cranberries for Kids half-mile.
Try the Turkey Day Trail Trot, now a race in the Urban Trail Series, chasing those birds through St. Paul, Minnesota’s Battle Creek Park. The race offers choices of 10 km, 5 km, 1 km plus a team division for all the family or friends. Afterwards, make them cook while you continue to keep your souvenir Turkey Day Trail Trot pint glass full of cider like they will serve at the race.
Jeff Gordan may have won Martinsville’s October NASCAR race, but you can win Martinsville’s 2015 turkey Day 5 km. Girls on the Run Southern Virginia organize this popular race starting at the YMCA. Support goes to the Miles in Martinsville Outreach Programs of the “Y” and Activate MHC. Bring the gang and enter the family division.
For the New England region runners, don’t plan on any football; there are too many races to choose from. Below are good examples, but go HERE for even more.
15th Annual We Gather Together 5K [One can only hope the song “We Gather Together” plays at the finish line]
19th Marathon Sports Gobble Gobble Gobble Presented by Somerville Road Runners [winner of both best name “Gobble Gobble Gobble” and longest name awards]
23rd Annual Dreamcatcher Classic Road Race 5m [Competitors get to keep any dreams caught]
Get out to San Francisco and race the five-mile Turkey Trail Trot with the companion Pilgrim Promenade three-mile walk. Check out the course below in a two-minute tour; hang on! The kids chase the Gobbler in a 100 meter dash. First conducted in 2003, the beach initially provided the runway for these athletes. However, the Feds banned racing there to protect the Snowy Plover, a small, cute shorebird whose species became endangered [for those in the Midwest, not the town of Plover, Wisconsin which gets a ton of snow].
Little Rock, Arkansas, celebrates their GO!BBLER Turkey Trot with a nice 8 a.m. start leaving plenty of time to enjoy one’s commemorative long sleeve shirts. Organizers point out the Thanksgiving Day tradition of enjoying a race “has grown into the undisputed way to begin Thanksgiving Day for thousands of runners across the nation.” Plus there is a free family run category here with a small canned food or cash donation. Santa shows before the parades get under way to thank all for their generosity in the donations. Choose 3, 4 or 6.5 mile distances.
Big Peach Running, Atlanta, Georgia, hosts a listing board with races for all times of the year. For Thanksgiving, find four events here like Gwinnett Gobble Wobble 5K, Turkey Day 5K/10K, and Five Star Turkey Trot with a plethora of choices: 5K/10K/15K and the Half-Marathon, too.
So on Thanksgiving morning, a runner enjoys the opportunity to knock off a half-marathon with the Atlanta Track Club… then brunch. Swag includes a Mizuno long sleeve along with the all important finisher’s medal. Further, for the quickest turkeys payouts of real money, help with the grocery tab as overall for both gender categories for the Half pay $750, with cash all the way to the 5 km Grandmasters, both receiving $100.
The Los Altos Hills Turkey Day Trail Run in California, offers “Help (to) equalize the caloric side of Thanksgiving with a fun and beautiful trail run.” Low key, the distance approximates six miles.
Pumpkin pie at the finish line is only one of the attractions of the 4th Annual Run for Pie Thanksgiving Day Race. Enjoying the majestic redwoods in the Forest of Nisene Marks California State Park highlights the trail race while benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County creates a pilgrim moment. Afterward enjoy some Norma Jean’s Coffee with the snazzy tagline: “Bean there. Done That.”
Run in Wenatchee, Washington, on Thanksgiving for their annual-but-unusual distance of 12 km. The Turkey on the Run 12K and 5K also offer several free options, so check that out, too. The longer distance takes the scenic Number One Canyon providing closeness with the Castle Rock formation along with vista views on the return journey.
Even racing on the road, if it snows, take those snowshoes along so you might, just might, enjoy a historic day along with the exercise. In many locales, the odds of having another snow on Thanksgiving, even in the colder climes stay slim. Be prepared, Boy or Girl Scout. One never knows.
Most importantly, celebrate your health that allows you to grace those roads or trails with a run. Take that blessing and add it to the many sitting at the dinner table that day.