A New Thanksgiving Day Tradition

By , SparkPeople Blogger
What are your first thoughts when you hear the word Thanksgiving? Does it conjure up visions of turkey, stuffing, pies, and special memories with family, and friends? What about starting a new tradition this year?

New York City has the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but many cities across the U.S. are now hosting what is becoming a new family tradition--participation in the local Annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.

When I started doing a little research on the history of the Turkey Trot, I discovered that Cincinnati, home to SparkPeople, holds the 6th oldest Thanksgiving Day race event in the country. This year the city will be hosting its 99th Annual 10K Thanksgiving Day race. The race crosses over the Ohio River into Kentucky and back into Ohio. How cool to run in two states all before the big feast!

If you are curious as to which city holds the oldest record for hosting a Turkey Trot event; well that honor goes to the great city of Buffalo, New York. They will host the 113th Annual Turkey Trot this year. Henry A. Allison and five of his running pals scurried through the streets of Buffalo on Thanksgiving morning 112 years ago as part of the inaugural Turkey Trot. This event even supersedes the Boston Marathon as the oldest road running event in the U.S. Last year the race had over 8,000 willing participants to don running gear in keeping with tradition.

Just in case you are wondering how to burn off lots of calories, check out the Atlanta Marathon and Half-marathon. One of the oldest marathons in the country, this event was moved to Thanksgiving morning in 1981 and has been a fixture in the Atlanta running community for well over 27 years.

This year my family and I will head to Downtown Dallas to participate in one of the largest Turkey Trots held in the country--The 41st Annual Capital One YMCA Dallas Turkey Trot. For the past 3 years my family and I have walked and ran with over 30,000 of our closest friends and family. It has become a great family tradition we look forward to each year.

So if you are looking to start a new Thanksgiving Day tradition, I highly recommend you visit your local running store or check out the Active.com site to locate a walk in your neck of the woods. And if there isn’t one close to you, consider starting your own family Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot with your family and friends.


Would you consider participating in a Turkey Trot? Have you participated in one in the past? Do you have any other Thanksgiving Day traditions to share with us?

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Howard at the 2006 Dallas Turkey Trot

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We are doing a family turkey trot 5K- running from my home to my parents home. Report
I'm planning to do the Detroit Turkey Trot this year. You run the parade route beforehand and then when you're done, you can stick around and watch it. I'm so excited! Report
We're doing true, traditional, Thanksgiving. No turkey - we're using fish (cooked salmon!) and lots of fruits & veggies, everything else will be gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian. Report
Will be missing oneof my favorites this year

Feaster Five in Andover MA your choice of a 5k or 5 miler.

Every runner/walker gets a pie! Report
I was hoping this would have been an article about activities that i could get my extended family to do on Thanksgiving. Report
My knees give me too many problems for me to run even a 5k anymore. However, my dad and I decided that we were going to take back our tradition of going for a long bike ride early on Thanksgiving morning. We left at 8 am and ended up riding 52 miles total-the ride was great, traffic was way down and what a better place to spend Thanksgiving morning than riding out to a beach and back! Report
I've participated in the past in the Denver Turkey Trot's, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I now live in a different state and hope that they have a Turkey Trot here. I think it's a great and healthy way to start off a holiday, not to mention fund raising for a worthy cause. Report
I amrunning my first 5K ever Thanksgiving morning!!! Report
I will be signing up for the 29th Annual Turkey Trot in Pinehurst, NC thanks to this article! Perfect training timeline for me and a neat family outing..... Report
We're just a small town, but the Cass County(IN) YMCA holds a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. They also have a one-mile walk for those of us that don't run. I did that a couple of years ago and had a great time. I think I'll do it again! Maybe I'll be in better shape to walk the entire 5K. It's something to shoot for! Report
This turkey is going to trot into the kitchen and cook all day. But we will make a few trips around the block after we eat our meal! Report
Believe it or not, I have never heard of a turkey trot! That sounds like a great thing to do on Thanksgiving Day! Report
I am 60+ and have walked in the turkey trot in Eureka, Ca. for 4 years now. I am only able to do 11/4 miles of the 5K but I feel good with what I do. We had the biggest turn out this year, I herd the spesker say next year they will have 500 numbers as they ran out and had to write numbers on tape. Ya! for Eureka.... Report
Just completed my first turkey trot today! It was a 5 mile run. Afterward, my husband said, "We'll all do this next year " Then later as we were hanging Christmas lights he said, "Next year I'll run that with you." Then he told me he was proud of me! Man that was worth it!!! I actually took a minute off my pace and that felt good. Plus it was the first time I ever ran HILLS!!! Report
We did our first 5K (turkey trot) this morning! I was hoping to walk it in at least 45 minutes, I walked/jogged it in 40.13 minutes. The old man jogged it in 25 minutes and my 15 year old daughter did it in 43.42 minutes....not to bad for our first attempt! Report
This is a new tradition for me now. I just ran my first 5k Turkey run on Sunday. It was great and I can't wait to run again next year. We do have one on Thanksgiving but my family likes to watch the parade and we are always busy cooking. This was the next best thing. Plus it felt very rewarding knowing that all the money raised went to the food shelfs! Report
I am walking in my first Turkey Trot in Portland. Next year, I plan to run it! Report
My husband is a lifelong runner and tries to find a 5k race on turkey day every year. Also, our local runners/walkers club hosts a 5 mile Turkey Run on the Sunday before Thanksgiving which we are always involved in. So, running is the first thing that comes to his mind this time of year.
I of course, not being a runner (arthritis), am left behind on turkey day to help mom-in-law do the cooking. Unfortunately, she does not believe it's necessary to modify recipes to be more healthy, even though she's not in good health herself. She cooks the same as she did 40 years ago. Butter, sugar, and cream are everywhere! I always have a hard time with eating healthy when visiting her.
I'm thinking of putting my foot down this year and insisting on making a few healthy dishes. Report
Running an 8K Turkey Trot in Cary (Raleigh), NC. Looks like is going to be a great day. Looking forward to it. Report
My husband and I are doing our first 5K Turkey Trot Thursday morning at 7:30 am in Vero Beach, FL. It benefits the local food bank. I picked up our bibs this afternoon and am officially nervous! But really excited too. :) Anyone else in Vero Thursday? Good luck to all and have fun! Report
I am doing my very first 5k turkey trot in a neighboring town on Thanksgiving...am kind of nervous about it, don't know why.... Report
I am running in the Turkey Trot in my town on Wednesday. I plan on going for a run on my own on Thanskgiving day, early in the morning! Report
I don't see a Turkey Trot here in my neck of the woods, but my daughter and I would surely love the fun of a walk after the meal instead of the usual lie down and pass out. Thanks for the idea. Report
I am running in my town's Turkey Trot that morning. I'm getting up extra early to put the turkey in the oven, then picking up a friend to head downtown. Our's is next to the Ohio River as well, so it's a bit chilly. I have been training for a while and I'm so excited. It's a 5K. I never thought I'd ever be able to run more than a few 100 feet at the beginning of the summer. Now, I'm doing a 5K! You can do whatever you put your mind to. Report
I'm running a 10K Turkey Trot in Miami for the first time, I'm super excited! Report
Several local communitites host a Turkey Trot but I just find one other person to go out and walk the dog with me. We have a great hill that has a long steep climb. It will make the best of us huff and puff! Report
My family does a 5K in the Nashville-area that benefits Habitat for Humanity. This is our third year doing it, and I'm hoping to break 30 minutes! It's a great start to Thanksgiving Day, and then I don't feel so bad indulging later on. Report
A few years back, after get overstuffed on turkey, my brothers and I started a tradition of walking the dog down to the river and back (about a 2 mile hike). Their in bootcamp this Thanksgiving, so I wonder if my sister would be willing to join me in the tradition, or if I'll just have to find another way to shed those holiday carbs. Report
This will be my 4th year of doing the 90 minute "Turkey Burn" Cycling Class, that my local YMCA puts on. Report
I would love to make it a new tradition for my family but my family still cooks the huge meal even though the majority is trying to lose weight - and most of those are not walkers! Report
What a great idea. I will have to look into this. Maybe this is the kick start that I need to get back into running. Report
I would love to do something like this as long as I didn't have to run. I think walking would be great fun and you'd have great camaraderie with all the other runners/walkers. I'm going to look for a Turkey Trot in my area right now! Report
I'm not a runner but to those who are..... good luck! Report
there's a turkey trot here in seattle... and i just signed up!! i know that i can't jog the whole thing yet, but it'll be fun to see how much i can improve before next thanksgiving!! Report
I have been pIanning on a 5 mile run on New Year's Day, but found out about the Turkey Run on Friday. DS and probably DH will be doing the run on Thanksgiving with me. Yippee! Report
I run the Cincinnati one every year - it is a blast. I get up, get everything ready to make the stuffing, and then I go run the race, run home (haha), make the stuffing, stuff the bird and pop it in the oven. It's a really busy day, but so much fun! Report
My sister and some friends started a run/walk many years ago in Kansas City called the "Gobble Wobble." Moved to San Diego long ago, so don't know if that run continued to grow. Report
A friend of mine has been doing Our local Turkey Trot for years. She asks me to do it every year. I finally said yes. Registered and ready to go. Just hope I make it back to get the Turkey in the oven on time.... Report
I've never entered a Turkey Trot race, but my mom and I usually go for a post Turkey Day dinner walk. It prevents us from laying on the couch in a "food coma", provides quality time together and is good for us!!!
I've heard of Turkey Trots, but never gave participating a thought. I can't wait to contact the family to see if anyone will join me. This could be the start of a really fabulous family tradition! Report
I did run a turkey trot in Austin, TX before I was married with children! I haven't run one since, and am heavier than I was way back then. This article has inspired me to at least TAKE A GREAT WALK. We have a mountain home in Angel Fire, NM that we travel to. This year, if the whole family won't get up and go with me, I know I can always count on my adorable dog! I am committing to the turkey walk/trot today!
Terri Report
For the 2nd year, I'm running the Manchester (Connecticut) Road Race on Thanksgiving morning with my sister! It's a lot of fun and it makes me feel better about indulging later! Report
My daughter and I are running our first Turkey Trot this year with girlfriends, and we're so excited. What a great way to remember that we are VERY thankful for our health! Report
We are starting a new family tradition this year. About 10 of my relatives are doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning this year. I can't wait. It feels great to start the holidays off with exercising and not eating!!!! Report
I usually run the morning of Thanksgiving just because I know I am going to eat a ton later so I might as well start off the day burning off a large amount of calories. My husband is even going to join me in running this year. I usually run about 4 miles but hope to up it to at least 5 this year if not more. Report
My husband has been running Turkey Trots for at least 10 years. He runs while I start the cooking. The one here in Columbus, OH gives out pumpkin pies at the finish so he always feels proud that he brought home dessert. Report
If I were in shape to run and lived somewhere warm it would be fun. But I'm not in shape to run and live in Ks and will be traveling to St. Louis to be with family. Its a tradition! But to those of you who are running, best wishes to you and Happy Thanksgiving. Report
I am registered for a Turkey Trot 5K a week before Thanksgiving AND a Thanksgiving 4-miler on Thanksgiving day! I love to run the Holidays! :-) Report
I would love to run a 10K on Thanksgiving Day. However, since I am the only runner among my family and friends, desserting them to go run a race wouldn't exactly be a welcome way to show thanks. I think Turkey Trots are get for people who are part of a running family or are on their own for Thanksgiving. For the rest of us though, it's not really a "tradition" that has anything to do with the values of Thanksgiving. Report
I have participated in the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race for the past 5 years. I love this tradition. Because it is so hard to not overeat on Thanksgiving with all the stuffing, turkey and multiple pies.... it feels really good to have participated in something active on this day to counteract the stuffed feeling. Plus you feel the effects of the race throughout the day, so you are less tempted to keep stuffing your face to keep the benefits of the race. Report
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