Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trots and Races

Written By: Jeremy N

Before you cozy up to the supper table for your annual Thanksgiving indulgences, consider taking part in one of the fastest growing US trends – Turkey Trots!

These Thanksgiving Day races range from fun to fierce, short to long, and can surely be found in any city you’ll be visiting this holiday season. The best part is most of them are charitable events, so you can feel good about giving back on this day of thanks!

Thanksgiving is a busy time for traveling. If you find yourself traveling back to your hometown for the holidays, you may even run into some familiar faces when you decide to start your Thanksgiving Day with a Turkey Trot.

If you find yourself traveling to an unfamiliar spot, why not check out some of the local views and support local causes by running in a festive Thanksgiving Race this year?

Including your kids creates a fun tradition. You Might Like: How to Get Your Kids to Run & Enjoy It!  

Running in a new location is a great way to keep your running skills sharp, especially before settling in for the hustle, bustle, and calories of the holiday season.

You might be interested: Ultimate Guide to Turkey Trots: Costume Ideas

Check our list of the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trots and Races:

Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trots and Races in America

Run to Feed the Hungry

And the award for Biggest Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Fun Run Race goes to… Run to Feed the Hungry – Sacramento, CA

Run to Feed the Hun

After 25+ years supporting the Sacramento Food Bank, this race can now claim their title as biggest Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. This 5k and 10k run is attended by nearly 30,000 people each year.

While you’re running through beautiful Sacramento, you’ll be cheered on by residents and volunteers alike. This race also offers team registrations for their Turkey Trot so you can gather your closest pals for maximum fun.

Full confession - I have ran this race for the last 8 years and it continues to grow. It is a family tradition with my family that we participate!

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot

And the award for Most Attended Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot – Dallas, TX

With over 50 years on the books, this race holds two records from 2011; one as most attended with 36,820 participants and a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed like turkeys.

It is still going strong, and with a 5k run/walk, 8-mile run, and 1k Junior Trot, this race course offers plenty of activities for everyone. Even non-runners can enjoy the live music, bounce houses, and kids’ activities.

Plus, this “Way to Begin Thanksgiving Day” supports the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.

Dana Point Turkey Trot

And the award for Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race Costume Contest goes to…Dana Point Turkey Trot – Dana Point, CA

Dana Point

Celebrating over 40 years of Turkey Trot fun, this Dana Point Race is an annual tradition in Orange County, California. With beautiful scenery, a costume contest, and two days of Expo, this Turkey Race should be on the top of your Thanksgiving Trot list.

To put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, this event has raised over half a million dollars for local nonprofits since it started. You can choose between a 5k, 10k, and Gobble Wobble kids run.

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

And the award for Biggest Fundraiser Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot – San Jose, CA

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

In just 15 years, this race has raised over $7.8 million for local charitable programs. They feature an array of interesting competitions, along with traditional age-based race categories.

No matter what your race style – kids fun run, 5k, 10k – they’ve got you covered. They have an expo, race day festival and kids’ fun zone that are sure to get the whole family out for a Thanksgiving Race.

Fit First Turkey Trot

And the awards for Most Pet Conscious Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to…Fit First Turkey Trot – Bay St. Louis, MS

Fit First Turkey Trot

Sometimes we want to support our furry friends, even if we can’t bring them along. This is the race for you if you love animals.

Benefitting the Friends of the Animal Shelter, this event encourages participants to bring pet food, treats, or toys to complement their race entry.

As a bonus, your run will take you through some of the most historic parts of Old Town Bay Saint Louis.

Pensacola Beach Turkey Trot

And the award for most “Thoughtful” Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Pensacola Beach Trot for Thought – Pensacola Beach, FL

Pensacola Beach Turkey Trot

Shout out to dog lovers, because this race welcomes your four-legged friends to join in the fun!

Benefiting the Preston Robert Tisch Tumor Center at Duke University, this scenic 5k Thanksgiving race donates proceeds to benefit brain cancer research.

With about 1,000 runners each year, you’ll have time on this Thanksgiving Trot to soak in the beautiful beachside scenery as you jaunt across the shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico.

Feast and Feathers Trail

And the award for Best Trail Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Feast and Feathers Thanksgiving Trail Run – Omaha, NE

Feast and Feathers Thanksgiving Trail Run

Facebook: Feast and Feathers Trail Half Marathon, 10K and 5K

If trail running is your slice of pie, then you won’t want to miss this race. Featuring 5k, 10k and Half Marathon distances, this race swoops around Cunningham Lake Park, complete with beautiful trail vistas.

Runners are encouraged to pay for parking in the form of canned foods, and proceeds from the race support Food Bank for the Heartland.

Is there any way to feel better burning calories on a holiday morning?

Hot to Trot Fun Run

And the award for Most Unique Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race Swag goes to… Hot to Trot Fun Run, 5k, and 10k – Knoxville, TN

Hot to Trot Fun Run, 5k, and 10k

Facebook: Knoxville Hot to Trot 5k/10k & Fun Run

Although this Thanksgiving Race is competitive, they didn’t forget about fun and fundraising.

Benefiting A Hand Up For Women and Shepherd of Hope Food Bank, this Turkey Trot features handmade pottery by a local artist as prizes for overall finishers.

We’re pretty certain this handmade pottery would bring a unique twist to your Thanksgiving table décor, so bring your running shoes and get ready to win!

Naperville Turkey Trot

And the award for Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race for a PR goes to… Naperville Turkey Trot – Naperville, IL

Naperville Turkey Trot

Flat is a word that most runners can get excited about. If you’re looking for a PR for your Thanksgiving Day Race, you won’t want to miss this flat course.

With a free pancake breakfast after the race, you’ll make sure you’re making the most of your Thanksgiving Day calories.

Even better, this race supports the local Lions Club, a non-profit for the benefit of people with vision and hearing impairments.

Strategic Staffing Solutions Trot

And the award for Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race parade goes to… Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot – Detroit, MI

Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot

Facebook: Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot

Imagine running from oversized cartoon characters and larger-than-life floats and dramatically shaped balloon creatures. No, this isn’t a scene out of the latest blockbuster thriller movie.

It is just the entrance ritual for the Detroit, MI Thanksgiving Day Parade. Over 20,000 people don their running shoes to complete a 10k, 5k, or mile run.

They also offer the “Dumbstruck Double” or “Cranberry Combo” for those who want to do a 10k/5k combo or 5k/1-mile combo.

And when you’re done with your Thanksgiving Run, kick back and watch the nation’s second most popular Thanksgiving Day Parade!

YMCA Buffalo Turkey Trot

And the award for Longest Running Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to…Annual YMCA Buffalo Turkey Trot – Buffalo, NY

YMCA Buffalo Turkey Trot

With a cap of 14,000 entrants, this Turkey Race is the oldest consecutively run footrace in the World!

The unique 8k distance attracts runners from all over the world to support the YMCA Buffalo Niagara. This race just happens to land on Thanksgiving…for over 120 years!

No matter what your Thanksgiving Race motivation is, it would be pretty cool to say you took part in such a long-standing race tradition.

Las Vegas Turkey Trot 

And the award for the “dam” Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Las Vegas Turkey Trot: Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam – Boulder City, NV

Las Vegas Turkey Trot

This packed-dirt trail run is historic and scenic, taking you along Lake Mead National Recreation Area all the way to the Hoover Dam overlook.

History class could have been a lot more captivating if it included as many National Park features as this Turkey Day Race.

Although this run packs some serious elevation challenges, you’ll barely notice with the spectacular views to experience. This is one dam race you won’t want to forget a camera.

Louisville Turkey Trot

And the award for least expensive Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Louisville Turkey Trot – Louisville, CO

Louisville Turkey Trot

By this time of year, and with the holidays around the corner, your race budget may be a little tight. Don’t worry! The Louisville Turkey Trot is absolutely free to anyone who donates non-perishable food or winter clothing.

You still have to register, although you will not receive timing chips or race bibs. As if running for charity wasn’t great enough, you can visit the free beer garden or hot cocoa station after the race!

Western & Southern 10k Race

And the award for most states covered in a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day 10k Race – Cincinnati, OH

Western & Southern Thanksgiving Day 10k Race

This frosty 10k Race takes you from Bengal’s Stadium into Kentucky and back to Ohio. It is one of the oldest races in the US of A, and nearly 18,000 runners come out each year.

Supporting 12 charities and dishing out a ton of cool (well…it’s actually warm, since the weather is so cold!) running swag, this is a great way to kickoff your Thanksgiving Day festivities.

Honolulu Marathon Clinic Trot

And the award for most unique judging system in a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Honolulu Marathon Clinic Turkey Trot – Honolulu, HI

Honolulu Marathon Clinic Turkey Trot

As runners, we are used to seeing the fastest folks go home with the prizes. Not so for this 10-mile run through Kapiolani Park in Hawaii.

Instead, runners get to predict their running times before the race starts, and those who finish closest to their pre-race predictions are awarded prizes.

Of course, we don’t need to mention the amazing views you’ll see while you run through Hawaii since you’d expect nothing less.

Running of the Pilgrims 5k

And the award for most historic Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Running of the Pilgrims 5k – Plymouth, MA

Pilgrim Pacer Marathon, Half, 10K, 5K

Facebook Pilgrim Pacer Marathon, Half, 10K, 5K

Although Thanksgiving celebrations have been the subject of controversy in recent years, it is true that Pilgrims first landed near Plymouth Rock, MA.

Held at the Pilgrim Memorial State Park, you will cruise by several historic sites amidst beautiful scenery, forging a deeper connection to your Thanksgiving roots.

Fast Before the Feast 

And the award for most musical Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Fast Before the Feast – White Bear Lake, MN

Fast Before the Feast

Facebook: Fast Before the Feast 5K

Boasting a serious lineup of raffles and door prizes for those who donate pantry goods to the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf and Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf, this race offers 10k, 5k, and a fun run option.

This is the only race we’ve seen that features caroling from local theatre and choir groups along the race route. Talk about running into the holiday spirit!

Run for the Diamonds

And the award for most sparkly Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Run for the Diamonds – Berwick, PA

Run for the Diamonds

The long sleeve performance shirt may not be very sparkly, but diamond rings and diamond pendants will be handed out to top race performers at this Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.

With only 2,000 runners on average, we’d say you’ve got a pretty good shot at making this Thanksgiving a sparkly one. Worst case? You finish the race with your worst time ever and indulge in the free pizza they provide.

Seems like you can’t really go wrong by giving this Thanksgiving race a try.

Arlington Turkey Trot

And the award for best Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race for sports fans goes to… Arlington Turkey Trot – Arlington, TX

Arlington Turkey Trot

Whether you’re a Rangers Fan, a Cowboys fan, or just a sports fan in general, who could pass up the chance to run past both of these iconic sporting venues in one morning?

Burning calories in a 5k Thanksgiving Run is even more fun when you know you’re supporting a good cause, like the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Tarrant County.

Besides, who knows which of your favorite athletes you might run into when you’re running so close to their sports venues?

Bonfield Express 5k 

And the award for most scholarly Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Race goes to… Bonfield Express 5k – Downers Grove, IL

Bonfield Express 5k

Hosted in memory of a local legend in the academic community, this 5k race has helped raise over $530,000 in scholarships for high school seniors in the local area.

This Thanksgiving Race is run primarily through wooded residential areas.

Conclusion: Best Thanksgiving Turkey Trots and Races

Ready to run a Turkey Trot?

Here are our favorite tips for Thanksgiving Day races.

Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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