Everything You Need to Know About Turkey Trots

Posted On Nov 22, 2022 By Lisa Traugott

group of runners

What is a Turkey Trot?

Turkey Trots are races, usually 5k (3.1 miles), run on Thanksgiving morning. Many include shorter footraces for kids.

Who started it?

The race, started in 1896 in Buffalo, New York, is actually a year older than the Boston Marathon. Hosted by the YMCA, only six men showed up. Each year it grew in popularity and in 1972 women were allowed to participate. Last year 12,000 people ran it.

Where can I find a race?

The race spread beyond the borders of New York and today you can find turkey trots in many cities across the country by going to https://www.active.com/turkey-trots. (A Google search works too.)

Why do it?

There are many reasons to sign up for this race.

  • Many Turkey Trots are associated with local charities, like food banks. What better way to show gratitude for your own blessings than raise money for people in need?
  • Ever hear about a "runners' high"? It's true! Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good.
  • Most schools and businesses are closed for the holiday, meaning it's a good day to coordinate schedules and do something together as a family.
  • It's fun. Running next to someone in a giant turkey costume is pretty funny, and we could all use a good laugh before the holiday season officially kicks off, right?

How To Train:

5k races are great for beginners. If you are new to running, ideally you should start to train about two months before the event, three times per week, starting at about ten minutes and then gradually increasing to 30 minutes per session.

Whether you run on the street or use a treadmill, a good way to ease into running is to combine running and walking. You run for 30 seconds then walk for a minute, repeating the cycle until you reach 30 minutes. If you are new to running and decide on a whim three days before Thanksgiving – well – there's a reason why it's called a "trot" and not a "sprint"! Walking is fine too. Just listen to your body and have fun.

Gobble, gobble!

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A person tying their running shoes.