Run Now Gobble Later :: Preparing for a Turkey Trot


I have a confession—I don’t like Thanksgiving.

From the food (bleh) to the frenzied consumerism of Black Friday, it’s my least favorite holiday.

Put your fat pants on…it’s time to eat (and other reasons why I don’t like Thanksgiving)

I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. My family isn’t American. While I was born in the U.S., my parents were not. They immigrated from Ireland, my mom when she was 17 (1st time on an airplane, not to mention more than 20 miles from home), and my dad when he was 25. 

The Irish have no equivalent to Thanksgiving. While my mom begrudgingly relented to her children’s pleas to be “just like the neighbors” and eat turkey on Thanksgiving, it was never a real holiday in our house.

Fast forward a few decades and I’m married with children of my own. Married to a man who grew up thoroughly American, a man who expected a perfect traditional Thanksgiving feast every 4th Thursday in November.

A man who astutely understood that if he expected such a feast in our house, he better learn how to cook it himself.

While my husband and my more-American-than-me kids look forward all year to Thanksgiving food, I’m not a fan. Turkey? Chicken is superior. Sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes? Baby food. Anything with pumpkin? Hate it.

Before you write me off as the Thanksgiving Grinch, there is one thing about Thanksgiving that I really like.

The Turkey Trot.

Oh my gourd, I love Thanksgiving turkey…trots 

While I may not enjoy being stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey, running is definitely the gravy to my mashed potatoes. 

Nothing else fills me with happiness like strapping on my kicks and running a few laps around the neighborhood. There is such freedom in knowing I can run a 5K lickety-split anytime I want.

Turkey day run/walks (trots) have become a big part of the Thanksgiving Day experience. They are by far the most popular race in America, drawing nearly a million participants to more than 1,000 different events across the country.

It’s no surprise why. It’s a fun, family-friendly race, usually with a charitable component, with the focus on having a good time with friends and family. Not to mention, a chance to burn off a few calories before you strap on the old feedbag.

Thankfully, none involve actual turkeys. What they lack in taste they more than make up in speed (fun fact—wild turkeys run up to 25 mph and fly up to 55 mph).

Even my non-Thanksgiving-loving mom runs everything Thanksgiving, the nation’s largest race, Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento, being her trot of choice.

Last year, she ran it with 4 of her grandchildren and close to 30,000 other people.


Now that I’ve convinced you to run before you gobble, how should you prepare for your turkey trot?

Don’t be a jerky, run before turkey—choosing the right distance

Turkey trots are not about setting a PR (personal record). They are not supposed to be intimidating. Heck, these aren’t races you are supposed to even train for.

Stick with a distance you can easily finish. If you aren’t a runner, the turkey trot is not the time to start. Walk instead.

I’m all about that baste — dressing for the race

Turkey trots are a great excuse to wear a costume.

Fun fact about our own Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot. At the 2011 Trot, Dallasites set a Guinness World Record for most people dressed as turkeys.

For the perfect Instagram-worthy photo, dress everyone up in matching outfits. Search Amazon and Etsy to find lots of cute (and affordable options).

Here’s the shirt my little turkeys wore last year:

This year my family will be sporting matching crochet turkey hats, assuming my teenager and my husband cooperate.

The gravy boat has arrived; calories disembarking – finding a turkey trot

To find a turkey trot near you, search on I found 14 (yes, 14) local races on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are some of my favorite local turkey trots:

Arlington Turkey Trot 1-mile/5K, Globe Life Park, 1000 Ballpark Way, 8:00 a.m. Visit, then search by race name.

CRC Thanksgiving Day Run 5K/10K/Half, Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey St., Fort Worth, Half Marathon 7:20 a.m., 1-mile fun run 7:30 a.m., 10K 7:50 a.m., 5K 8:00 a.m. Visit

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 8-mile/5K/1K, Dallas City Hall Plaza, 1500 Marilla St., 1K Junior Trot 8:45 a.m., 8-mile/5K run/walk 9:00 a.m. Visit

Moritz Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot, Frost Bank, 6115 Camp Bowie Blvd., 1K Gobbler Trot 8:00 a.m., 10K 8:15 a.m., 5K 8:30 a.m. Visit

I hope you found all of my mom Thanksgiving puns plucking hilarious.

Happy running!


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