Before they pound the pumpkin pie, families across the nation pound the pavement in traditional Turkey Trots. These Thanksgiving gobble jaunts are typically 5ks (3.2 miles) and kids' fun runs of one mile. Held early in the morning, the races allow plenty of time to socialize with neighbors, have some family fun, burn off some calories and still get to grandma's house.
In the spirit of giving thanks on this special day, many of the trots are fundraisers. Proceeds from Father Joe's Thanksgiving Day 5k in Balboa Park, San Diego provides more than 1.7 Million meals for the needy. Houston's 17th Annual Sheltering Arms Turkey Trot helps a local seniors' services organization. Last year, North Carolina's Ridgewood Turkey Trot brought 1,700 runners from 33 states to raise more than $17,000 for the National MS Society.
The bird walks are relatively noncompetitive. For some, like the 40-year-old Arizona Mesa Mi Amigo Turkey Trot, participants literally race a guy in a turkey outfit. "I Beat the Turkey" certificates go to all who finish the10k faster than 45 minutes. First place winners in each age group win a turkey (not the guy in the suit).
Some events are way more than a morning run. The Manchester Road Race, held in Connecticut for the past 71 years, is a huge festival with barbeques and parties all along the course. Residents of Maryland go for the big calorie burn with the 20th Annual Anniversary North Trail Marathon.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times