Well Being

Here Are Thanksgiving’s Best Races And Workouts, So You Can Burn Calories Before Stuffing Your Face

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There will be turkey. Or maybe there will be tofurkey. Either way, there will be massive, unfathomable quantities of food. Yes, I am talking about Thanksgiving, and just like winter, it is coming.

According to the American Council on Fitness, an average person consumes approximately 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving, along with 229 grams of fat. Weirdly enough, this overhaul of food has actually transformed Thanksgiving Day into one of the biggest workout days, like ever. Whether it’s pumping iron, running a road race or swimming a mile loop in the San Francisco Bay, people everywhere are trying to desperately trying to burn off some last-minute calories in order to make room for extra stuffing (face).

According to Athlinks, Thanksgiving hosts more running races than any other day, so here are 10 road races—and two other active events!—you can run to burn before you churn (food) this holiday.

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot – Dallas, Texas
This Dallas road race promises “record-breaking” turkey fun, and is ranked one of the top five fun runs in the country. That’s probably because participants are invited to dress up like turkeys, and dogs are allowed to join the race. Plus, you can pick from distances of 5k (3.1-miles) and 8 miles, depending on how much you want to burn.

Prospect Park Turkey Trot – Brooklyn, New York
This particular 5-mile race is sold out this year (sad face), but you can still go out to watch the action and kick off your holiday (or, start training for next year). The first three male and female finishers get holiday pies, which is way better than any medal.

10k Turkey Trek – Arvada, Colorado
Boasting itself as ‘better than your turkey trot,’ this 10k (that’s 6.2 miles) course around a scenic reservoir offers an eggnog-chugging contest halfway through the race. If you chug a 5oz Egg Nog at mile three, you’ll be entered to win a new pair of shoes.

Manchester Road Race – Manchester, Connecticut
This race began with just 12 runners in 1927, but is now one of New England’s most famous, attracting up to 15,000 runners and 20,000 spectators every year. The 4.748-mile distance, oddly enough, attracts Olympians and locals (who are invited to dress up!) alike.

Phoenix Turkey Day Ride – Phoenix, Arizona
Yep, you read that right—a ride. This amateur bike race attracts up to 250 riders for an unofficial, unsponsored and unsanctioned event. The ride is about 40 miles round trip, and ends with hot chocolate.

Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Turkey Trot – Las Vegas, NV 
Spending Thanksgiving in Vegas? This trail race has 12k, 5k and 1-mile options, and the course has been newly graded for its eighth year! You’ll run along Lake Mead, under six tunnels, and by the Hoover Dam.

Turkey Trot XII – San Francisco, California
This fun cross-country-style run has three options: a 5-mile Turkey Trail Trot, a 3-mile Pilgrim Promenade for walkers, and a 100-meter Kid’s Gobbler Chase. It’s not uncommon for a giant, costumed turkey to be leading the field of over 1,000 runners (each in their own silly costumes). Winners take home prizes of actual turkeys, pies and wine…so, run fast!

Dolphin Club Swim – San Francisco, California
If you think cold waters will up your calorie burn, join the Dolphin Club’s annual Thanksgiving swim in San Francisco Bay. The water temperature is typically in the 50s, which may not be wetsuit material, but makes me shiver anyway.

Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot – Bainbridge Island, Washington
Featuring a 5k course and 1-mile fun run, the Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot raises money for a local food bank — while helping you make extra room in your stomach for your own eats. Runners must make the trip across the bay in Seattle, but the natural scenery makes up for the travel time.

Feaster Five – Andover, Massachusetts
You can pick between running a 5-mile or 3.1-mile course in this Merrimack Valley road race. However, I suggest going with the 5-mile option, because while every finisher gets an apple pie at the end of the race, you should probably go with the bigger calorie burn.

Fifth Third Turkey Trot – Detroit, Michigan
We all know Detroit likes to go hard — so they’ve challenged races with the ‘Drumstick Double:’ If you run both the 10k Turkey Trot and the 5k Stuffing Strut course, you’ll get three medals! Claimed to be the largest race in Michigan last year, more than 21,000 participants laced up for the event. There’s even an after party…go Lions?

Charlotte South Park Turkey Trot – Charlotte, North Carolina
Every year this race must be capped at 11,000 participants due to its popularity, so make sure to sign up early! With an 8k, 5k, 1-mile and 26.2-yard ‘Tot Trot,’ there’s a distance for the whole family. Plus, there’s a costume contest — so wear your very best turkey legs!

Got another Turkey Trot or active Thanksgiving Day event we should know about? Leave it in the comments.