7 Fun Facts About Turkey Trot Races

The average American will consume approximately 3,000 calories during his/her Thanksgiving dinner this year. Add in pre-meal snacks and a serving of grandma's famous pie, and that number can easily reach upwards of 4,500 calories! 

To burn off all that food, you'd need to run a marathon or more. In an effort to burn off as many calories as possible before the bird even comes out of the oven, many runners sign up for turkey trot races.

More: 5 Ways to Improve Your 5K Speed

Here are some fun facts about this popular and fun event:

What Is a Turkey Trot Race?

A turkey trot race is (usually) a fun run, or a footrace, held each year for participants looking to burn calories before Thanksgiving meals. 

Active.com lists an estimated 318 turkey trot events occurring all over the country this year, and the majority of turkey trot races are put on by local or national charities.

When Do Turkey Trots Take Place?

Most turkey trots occur on or just before Thanksgiving Day each year. A few, however, are held a week or so before the holiday to raise money for charities that provide needy families with Thanksgiving meals.

How Far is a Turkey Trot Race?

According to USA Track and Field, sanctioned turkey trot races range in distance from 3.1 (5K) to 26.2 miles. Most, however, are run from 3.1 to 8 miles.

Are There Any Prizes Given Out at Turkey Trots?

Prizes for these popular Thanksgiving-themed races can include cash, "turkey" T-shirts, hats and even actual live turkeys! Many turkey trot races distribute frozen turkeys to all race participants. (Don't forget to thaw it before cooking!)

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What Is the Oldest Turkey Trot Race?

The oldest Turkey Trot race, the Buffalo Turkey Trot, also claims to be the oldest footrace in America. Put on by the YMCA each year since 1896, participants often wear Thanksgiving-themed costumes as they run along this 5-mile course.

What is the Biggest, or Most Popular, Turkey Trot?

Turkey Trots are gaining in popularity, but the Dallas Turkey Trot, also put on by the YMCA, takes the prize for most popular. 

Beginning with only 107 runners in its first year, the Dallas Turkey Trot has since had to change courses several times to accommodate its growing numbers. 

Last year, race organizers boasted over 25,000 participants who took part in one of its three events: an 8-mile run, a 3-mile fun run and a wheelchair race.

What Is the Most Unusual Turkey Trot Race?

From participants donning Thanksgiving-themed costumes to the presence of live turkeys, turkey trot races, in general, tend to be more unusual than the average footrace. 

The small town of Cuero, Texas, however, took turkey trot to a whole new level from 1912 to 1972. For 60 years, thousands of spectators lined the streets each Thanksgiving to watch more than 18,000 live turkeys herded down Main Street. 

When the local turkey industry dried up in the '70s, the town had to cut back on the race, but still holds a traditional 5K turkey trot for humans, as well as the Great Gobbler Gallop, which determines the victor of the "fastest turkey" award.

More: 3 Tips to Run Strong Throughout the Holidays

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About the Author

Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke is an online video editor for Active.com. His favorite part of the job is covering inspiring races and athletes who push themselves to be the best they can be.
Michael Clarke is an online video editor for Active.com. His favorite part of the job is covering inspiring races and athletes who push themselves to be the best they can be.

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