For many Americans, Thanksgiving is all about food and football. For runners, however, the holiday is also a great excuse to get out and get active before turkey time. If you're looking for a spirited event that allows you to burn a few calories before bellying up to the dinner table, check out these top turkey trots around the country.
Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot
San Jose, California
Celebrating its tenth year, this turkey trot has raised more than $4 million to help local charities. This year's event is donating funds to several charities that help provide deserving families with "health, hope and home." With a 5K, 10K and kids fun run, it attracts runners and walkers of every ability level and even brings in a group of top elites each year to gun for big PRs on the flat and fast course that goes through downtown San Jose.
Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot
Bainbridge Island, Washington
The Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot has raised $65,000 and counting over the past four years for Helpline House, a local food bank. Featuring a 5K and 1-mile fun run, it beckons runners from across the bay in Seattle to make a day trip to Bainbridge Island. The natural scenery in Battle Point Park—the site of the run—is enough to get you out of bed before your Thanksgiving feast.
Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot
Started in the 1940s with just 107 participants, the Dallas Turkey Trot has become a family tradition. The race is one of the largest events of its kind, attracting 40,000 runners each year to complete the 8-mile run or 5K run/walk. Don't be shy to come in costume and ham it up on the streets of Dallas—you won't be alone. The 2011 race holds the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys.
10K Turkey Trek
If you're looking for a little extra challenge, enter the eggnog-chugging contest halfway through the 10K Turkey Trek. Not only will you get the chance to kick off the holiday season with your first glass of eggnog, you'll also be entered to win a free pair of shoes from Road Runner Sports Westminster. The course runs through Blunn Reservoir on the Ralston Creek Trail. Proceeds from the race go to the Arvada Community Food Bank to help people in need this holiday season.
Manchester Road Race
The Manchester event, one of the most competitive road races in the country, attracts elite runners and Olympians from near and far. The race, which takes participants 4.748 miles on a large loop around town, attracts 15,000 runners and even more spectators. It's the largest race in Connecticut, the third largest in New England, and one of the top 25 in the U.S.
A Merrimack Valley tradition since 1987, the Feaster Five allows you to run in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in the sport of running, including Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers who have both competed in past years. All runners who participate in either the 5-mile or 5K races receive an apple pie at the finish line to take home to their families. If that's not a reason to run, what is?