Runners Make Pilgrimage to Thanksgiving Races

Thanksgiving is the most popular race day of the year in the USA. Runners of all ages and abilities line up around the country at local Turkey Trots, Wobble Gobbles, Feasters, and Pie Runs. For many runners (and their accommodating family members), a Thanksgiving race is a great excuse to get out and play before a long day spent sitting around the table or in front of the television. It’s also a great way to offset the caloric impact of the traditional holiday feast.

For holiday travellers, a Thanksgiving race provides an escape from the confines of your hotel or guest room, and a chance to see a new place. Many Thanksgiving races are charitable events to benefit the needy, or support local schools. Visiting runners and walkers from out-of-town are not only welcome, they’re celebrated.

choosing your next race

On race day, you’ll find costumed joggers dressed like turkeys, recovering Thanksgiving Eve partygoers hoping to sweat out some toxins, and plenty of smiling kids. Some runners take the race seriously, but the majority of runners are there to have a good time with a few easy miles and some fresh air. Crisp fall temperatures and friendly holiday crowds make Thanksgiving a great day for racing.

If you’re hoping for a guilt-free slice of pie, a morning run will do the trick. However, the average Thanksgiving meal has 2,500 calories or more. To burn it all off, you’d better plan on running a half marathon.

This year, my family will be running the Wobble Gobble 4-miler in Keene, NH. We usually run in our own hometown, but this year we’re travelling. Thankfully, Thanksgiving races are everywhere. So, don’t be a turkey, go for a run on Thanksgiving!

Infographic: DailyBurn

Burn Thanksgiving meal calories

2013 Seacoast Rotary Turkey Trot

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Seacoast Rotary Turkey Trot 2013
Portsmouth, NH
November 28, 2013
Race Results

The Seacoast Rotary Turkey Trot was a fun, festive 5K race through the historic waterfront district of downtown Portsmouth, NH. Runners that braved the 25-degree weather and wind gusts were rewarded with a well-organized race event. 2500 runners crossed the finish line on Thanksgiving morning.

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Parking/Facilities/Registration:  Participants were given the option of picking up their bibs the night before the race. This was a very convenient service that allowed runners to avoid standing in long lines in the cold weather and also allowed race organizers to stem the flow of race day registration headaches.  Parking could be found in all of the usual city locations. I ended up parking about ¼ mile from the start area. There were plenty of porta potties, but nowhere to find shelter from the cold either before or after the race. The lack of a warm area for sweaty runners after the race was a sore point for me. Perhaps a tent with walls and a heating source could be considered for next year.

Race Course: The course was challenging, but also geared towards a fast finish. Early in the race there were some tight turns and steep hills, but the last mile was mostly downhill and very fast. This is an easy course to run negative splits. There was a water stop around the 1.5 mile mark. Traffic was very light and police personnel were present at every major intersection and turn.

Refreshments: A large tent near the finish area was stocked with lots of good post race foods: bagels, yogurt, fruit, and chocolate. The most popular item may have been the fresh donuts provided by race sponsor Dunkin Donuts. Hot coffee and hot chocolate were available. An Emergen-c ambassador was handing out free samples of their Immune+ product.

Awards/Results/Swag: T-shirts were given only to those who registered very early. Age group winners walked away with gift certificates provided by race sponsors. Many of the award winners did not claim their awards due to the cold weather and the urgency of the holiday. An ‘award pickup’ may have been more efficient given the circumstances.

Overall Experience:  The race was what all that a New England turkey trot should be. The runners were hearty and spirited, and the weather was clear and cold. The course was both challenging and well designed for fast finish times.