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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My hubby and I will be at the Turkey Trot in Anthem AZ, but not running or even walking. We will be timing! We do event timing for a living, so while you are all running or walking for fun, we will be working and cheering you on!

Have an awesome Turkey Trot all of you & be sure to say Thanks! to the people who took the time to organize the event and to the great volunteers who gave up their Thanksgiving morning to help with it! Report
I'll be participating in our "Turkey Run and Gobble Wobble" on Thanksgiving Day in Charleston! I'm still trying to get my family involved...my parents and siblings say they need the time to prepare the food, but I usually try to prepare as much as I can the day before. I have done this race for the past 3 or 4 years. When my husband and I have kids I plan to keep up the tradition, but in the mean time, I'm not going to give up on the rest of my family. Running on Thanksgiving makes feel good, and takes away any guilt I could have about eating all that good food later :) Report
I'll be running in my first Thanksgiving day race this year and I'm really looking forward to it! Report
My daughters and I have participated in Turkey Trots in two different cities. This year, well be running/walking/pushing strollers along with a fairly large group of Springfield Sparkers. It'll be a great, active Thanksgiving. Report
Being Canadian our Thanks Giving has already come and gone, but I will be checking up on your blog and will be looking forward to reading all about your race. Have fun, run safe. Report
I ran in the Cincinnati race during my sophomore year of college, in 2001. Unfortunately, I didn't train properly, so although I was able to finish the 10K in 1:11:08, jogging all the way and sprinting at the end, I ended up damaging my knee. I had only run a max of 3 miles prior to the 6.2 mile race!

My advice - do the Trot, but train first! Or walk it.

I'm running a 5K on Dec 31 known as the Resolution Run in Maple Grove, MN. This time I'm training for it, and should be fine! Report
I wish everyone who runs the best of luck. I am not physically able to run so run for me too. Happy Thanksgiving! Report
this will be my first event ever --- I am really excited about it --- I may be moving a little slower than the rest of the turkeys out there --- but I will finish it!!! Report
Sacramento (my home) sa the equivalent, only it's called "Run to Feed the Hungry" and it's a fundraiser for our local food bank, it's been going over 20 years and always fills the streets of out midtown area. Report
I'll be doing a Turkey Trot with my family! We used to do them every year when I was young, and I'm starting up the tradition again. Report
I'll be running in a 5k on Turkey Day...I can't wait! It will definitely be a new tradition for me and someday for my family! Report
Just in case you feel you need to run in order to participate...check and see. My family are not runners, so we spend a leisurely morning walking through the streets of Downtown Dallas. Many of these events ALLOW walkers, too! Just be sure to check before you sign up!

I will be running a 5 mile Turkey Trot on Turkey Day...less guilt for enjoying some pie that way! :) Report
Congratulations to all of you who run, I wish that I could do this but I can't run. When I lose all the weight I should be able to run, and guarantee I will run also. Report
I normally run a Thanksgiving 5k in a town 20 miles away, but this year we are going out of town that day, so I'll just do 3-4 miles in the morning. I will miss it though, it's fun! Report
I'll be doing my first Turkey Trot this year in Davis, CA. It's actually the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to it. I even signed up my kids. My older kids will run the 1/2 mile and my 2 year old will run the 200 yard dash. (We're just hoping he runs the right direction.) Report
I've done one every year for the past 6 years! Report
One of the members of my local running club (Wabash Valley Road Runners) has hosted a Thanksgiving Day run for a few years. It isn't an official race (so no awards, t-shirts, etc.), but we all meet that morning and run 5 miles. We also bring canned goods to donate to a local food bank. I really enjoyed running it last year and I felt a little less guilty about eating that pumpkin pie. Report
I don't know that I'll be able to sign up this year, but I may just make my own 10K for Thanksgiving morning! :) Report
I just signed up for my first Turkey Trot!!!!!!!!!!!! This year I am going to walk it...but I am hoping with some training to run it next year. Report
My home town has done a turkey trot for as long as I can remember (20+ years). I think they are great. I haven't checked to see if anything is going on around my new living area, but I should. Great way to earn that big ole turkey dinner too ;) Report
It had never occurred to me to participate in a Turkey Trot--thanks for the nudge! I see that Chicago's is an 8K, with both running & walking categories, & about 5,000 people generally participate. I just might join in this year! Report
Just a reminder.... if you are unable to run, a great thing to do is volunteer to help run the event.
I went & set up the sign up tables, helped organize, get the people and things where they needed to be...and was surrounded by a fun event, that made me feel a part of the community, joyous and happy.
You don't have to BE an athlete to get some of those endorphins. Assisting others feels good, too. Injured? Unable? Then help out. It feels great.
I got in a nice walk in a pretty park, too.
(It's really ok to not be a runner...honest!) Report
I run a Turkey Trot every year. It really has become a tradition in my town for a lot of people. It's really great because a lof of family members from "out of town" participate also. It's definitely a great way to start the day. And since it's in my hometown it's easy for me to get home and have plenty of time to cook (another tradition of mine, I have Thanksgiving every year.) Report
My husband & I will be doing our third Turkey Trot in a row this year at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Woohoo! Report
Never even heard of a Turkey Trot before! Report
I've never heard of the Turkey Trot before! I doubt it will be held in the city I'm going to be in for Thanksgiving, but that's okay as I had planned to run anyway. I will check though, so just in case... Report
Denver also has a Turkey Trot and although I won't be participating, I will be going to the gym right after I pop the turkey in the oven. They are open a half day yay!
Maybe next year we'll start a new tradition and do the turkey trot, then go volunteer to serve dinner to those less fortunate. Report
this is amazing that Buffalo, New York is doing this especially when you consider how cold it is and they usually have a few feet of snow on the ground and the cold winds off of Lake Erie! One way to keep warm in the cold, wet, windy weather. Report
i have just started running and would LOVE to participate in one of these. Report
I will be participating in my first Turkey Trot in Baltimore this year! I'm excited. Report
This is the first time I've heard of a Turkey Trot. I've heard of turkey shoots, but never trots. I love to run, so I'll look and see if there are any around me. Thanks for the idea. Report
No, there is not a turkey trot where I live and too far to drive. I do not run. Report
Sounds like fun. We don't have any Turkey Trots here. Report
I wish I had known about this 3 months or so ago to give me time to train instead of 2 weeks beforehand. :( Well, now I know for next year and I'll be ready to go! Report
I'll be there with you Nancy!!! Report
I can't wait to run the Turkey Trot this year! My fiance and I are starting this tradition and think it's a great way to avoid holiday weight gain besides portion control and healthy food preparation. Report
This is one of my favorite runs, so long as the weather cooperates. I am hoping that all the weight loss this year helps me achieve a PB this year. Report
I love doing Turkey Trots, this will be my 3rd year doing one.

It feels so good to get out there and exercise before the big meal. It makes the meal so much more enjoyable, b/c you know you already burned off a bunch of calories. Report
I would love to compete in a Thanksgiving Day race, but we're always traveling out of town (I live in Cincinnati). I should check my parents' little town and my inlaws' town for races I guess!! :) Report
I'm running the Long Beach 10K Turkey Trot !!! Report
Count me in. I have plans to go with part of our running group who is like a second family. How cool to spend the day with the two biggest factors in my life. My running family and my God given, you have to accept them, family, lol. Report
Not a "trot" for me...but a good long walk before and after dinner sounds like a wonderful idea this year! Usually sons fall asleep..I'll see if I can't start a new tradition for us and get us all moving. (Then they can take adavantage of the Tryptophan) Report
Have done them in the past....hope to get back to running weight again soon. Report
I think this is a fantastic way to start a day of thanks! I'm over 3,000 miles away from US family/friends but I still hold to celebrating the Holiday over here in the UK. This post has given me a way to not only keep the Traditional in the Holiday but start a new one... I'm sending emails out to my various US family members and close friends and challenge them to do a "Trans Atlantic Turkey Trot!! It will give us a way to feel closer across the thousands of miles that seperate us. Report
I would love to run a Turkey Trot, but the only one near me is 8 miles--I'm not quite there yet! I wish they could have a regular 5K like everyone else. Oh well....I'm planning to run my own one-person 5K before dinner that day anyway! Report
I will be running my 2nd Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in Detroit. I get up at 5 AM and battle the elements of the snow, cold, rain, sleet, and make a mad run 10K . Last year I was a bit slow and had the pace car pushing me as it was my first race. Since last year I have lost over 100 pounds and have made it my goal to run as much as I can. So I could not think of a better way to show my gratitute for my lives changes by getting out there and participating in Detroits Turkey Trot. This year my goal is to beat my time from last year and to just have fun and go with the flow. To all of you who think you can not do it my only answer to you is IF I CAN DO IT ANYONE CAN DO IT. If you believe you certainly can achive your goal! So dont quit and remember where you are at in life and where you have been. Continue to push forward towards your goals and stay positive. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE. Report
Sounds fun, I'm surprised my community doesn't do it Report
I will be running my first Turkey Trot (my second 8K) this year. I'm excited! Report
I'm running my first 10K and first race ever on Thanksgiving! I don't know if my family will be able to come support me, as they will be slaving away in the kitchen. But either way, it will be a memorable first race! Report
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