If somebody was to ask you what the first thing you think of when you hear “Thanksgiving” is, the most appropriate answer would obviously be giving thanks; it would be that Thanksgiving inspires thoughts of reflection and rumination over the blessings in your life for which you are most grateful. Of course, this is a big part of what Thanksgiving is all about. But if we’re being entirely honest, the things that spend the most time on your mind around Thanksgiving are probably more along the lines of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie.

 

Runners of all ages have fun dressing up for their local turkey trot, and lots of Thanksgiving Day races are accompanied by a costume contest (Brian D. Wallace/FOR THE QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Runners of all ages have fun dressing up for their local turkey trot, and lots of Thanksgiving Day races are accompanied by a costume contest (Brian D. Wallace/FOR THE QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Food is a central part of the holiday, and the dishes on any Thanksgiving table are undoubtedly known more for their flavor than they are for their healthiness. That being said, it seems preposterous to even consider that Thanksgiving could be seen as a healthy holiday. However, interestingly enough, thanks to the ever-growing list of people who kick off holiday with Thanksgiving Day races — or turkey trots — Thanksgiving truly may be the healthiest holiday of the year.

 

A turkey trot is quite simply a race which takes place on the morning of Thanksgiving, in which runners gather to compete for prizes like turkey and pie or cash, all the while burning some serious calories before Thanksgiving dinner — a meal which for many can reach upwards of 4,500 calories! Usually organized by local or national charities, turkey trots are also a fantastic way to start off the holiday right by giving back.

 

Turkey trots have been around for years — the first Thanksgiving day race took place in Buffalo, NY in 1896 — but their mere existence and long history alone are hardly enough to qualify Thanksgiving as the healthiest holiday of the year. Rather, it is the evolving magnitude of the turkey trot which has transformed Thanksgiving from what could arguably have been considered the unhealthiest holiday to what may now be seen as the healthiest. Just in the few short years between 2008 and 2013, the number of participants in turkey trots nationwide has gone from 400,000 to 870,000. These numbers easily demonstrate the consistent growth of the turkey trot over the years. With a total of 3.4 million combined miles being covered by runners in 2013 alone, it’s evident that Thanksgiving has rather ironically become one of the most active days for Americans.

 

To find one of the over 1,000 Thanksgiving Day turkey trots near you and to give your holiday a pre-feast health kick, visit runningintheusa.com

 

Do you participate in your local turkey trots on Thanksgiving? What do you love most about these races? Share your stories below or tweet me @tamarahoumi