Pop quiz: Name the oldest consecutively run foot race in the world.
Boston Marathon? Nope. Bay to Breakers? Nice try, but wrong. The correct answer is…the YMCA Turkey Trot in Buffalo, New York! This 8K race will have its 128th running on Thanksgiving. Founded in 1896 with just six participants - and four finishers - the Turkey Trot has grown from an inauspicious beginning to a cultural phenomenon. This year, a million-plus runners are expected to take part in more than 1,000 races nationwide. Thanksgiving is now the biggest running day of the year in the U.S.
Image courtesy of Dana Point Turkey Trot
As the once-humble Trot has grown, so have the traditions surrounding the event. The day has morphed from an “earn-your-pie” race mentality to more of a family-friendly, community-building festival. You’ll be sure to see hilarious costumes, delicious post-race treats, and activities for kids. Given this is a day of gratitude, most every race includes a charitable component, so portions of proceeds go to worthy causes.
Vickie McMurchie, the president of the Dana Point (Calif.) Chamber, the organizing body behind the Dana Point Turkey Trot event that attracts over 10,000 participants, shared her perspective. She stated, "The Dana Point Turkey Trot has become an Orange County tradition for families and friends, and a great annual reunion for the running community. People love starting Thanksgiving by doing something healthy and fun, and also knowing they are supporting local charities."
JAMBAR will be getting in on the excitement by sponsoring and handing out bars at the following races:
- Seal Beach Turkey Trot – kicking off the fun the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Seal Beach Turkey Trot offers a 5K, 10K, a kids’ race, and a 5K gym challenge, all to help support Grateful Hearts and Project SEEK.
- HTC Turkey Trot (Portland, Ore.) - participants in this 5K run/walk, which takes place the evening before Thanksgiving, get to go on a holiday-themed journey through the lights of the Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland.
- Dana Point Turkey Trot - the 46th running of this event includes a 5K, a 10K, a one-mile Gobble Wobble for kids and, of course, a costume contest. Charity partners for the year are the Dolphin Foundation and the Pet Project Foundation.
- Silicon Valley Turkey Trot - sign up for the 5K, CEO/Executive 5K, 10K or kids’ fun run! Contests include Best Costume and Fittest Firm. Proceeds help Healthier Kids Foundation, Second Harvest and Healthnet.
- Napa Valley Turkey Chase - races include a 5K and 10K, as well as a team fundraising competition. Two local nonprofits - Ag4Youth and CASA - will benefit from this year’s event.
- South Asheville (NC) Turkey Trot – This 5K is the only running race held in the Biltmore Park Town Square neighborhood, and benefits Sheep Dog Impact Assistance.
- Solano Turkey Trot – runners can choose from a 5K, 10K or kids’ fun run, and compete for costume and team awards, all while supporting Meals on Wheels and the Suisun KROC Center.
- Appetite Seminar Thanksgiving Ride (Fairfax, Calif.) – Here’s one for the mountain bikers! This unofficial, informal 20-mile ride takes place Thanksgiving morning on the iconic trails of Mt. Tam.
It’s not too late to sign up for most Turkey Trots, so check out what’s happening in your area. And if you’re interested in any of the events listed above that we’re sponsoring, we have several FREE race registrations to share! Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which event you’d like to run. Happy Turkey Trot and Happy Thanksgiving!