For many New Yorkers who won’t be elbow-deep into poultry stuffing a turkey, Thanksgiving morning will involve hours on the sidewalk watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For others, it will involve making meticulous plans on the best strategy to hit the stores on Black Friday. But for multitudes of folks, it means stretching in anticipation of their annual Turkey Trot Race.
Although Turkey Trot races are popular all over the country, the phenomenon of holding a foot race on Thanksgiving can trace its roots back to New York–Buffalo, New York, to be exact, where, in 1896, the Buffalo Turkey Trot was hatched. This is regularly cited as one of the oldest continuously run foot races in the continent and is widely credited for playing a key role in popularizing running events that take place over Thanksgiving Weekend throughout the U.S.
Considering that the average American will take in 3,500 to 4,000 calories at their Thanksgiving celebrations, there’s no better way to proactively fight the holiday fat. And with a variety of 5K, 10K, and walking races, as well as kid races and family fun runs, New York City has a wide array of Turkey Trots for runners at every fitness level. So, for those who might want to chicken out because they don’t think they can run well enough to take part in a Turkey Trot, we say, “Yes you cran!” Here are some of our favorites.
Get a Headstart on the Holiday with These Early Bird Runs
Saturday November 18
Stuytown Turkey Trot
Come to Manhattan’s East Side for Stuyvesant Town’s first annual Turkey Trot. All ages are welcome to run or walk 5K. A $10 entry fee gets you a t-shirt and race bib, with all proceeds going to CoreGiving, an organization dedicated to ending child hunger. The fun starts at 10 a.m. For entry information, click here.
Sunday November 19
Manhattan Turkey Trot 5K
Trot on down to Randall's Island for a scenic 5K run around along beautiful grounds. Event organizers promise sweet and savory turkey-trot swag and treats from All Round Foods to commemorate your achievement. A $35 entry fee benefits the Never Stop Running Foundation. Start time is 9 a.m., with a free Kiddie Dash at 8:30 a.m. For entry information, click here.
Get Out of the Kitchen with These Thanksgiving Day Runs
Thurs November 23
Prospect Park Track Club Reconciliation Run
One of Brooklyn’s most popular races, this spectacular five-miler will be held on Thanksgiving Day in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Perfect for runners of various levels, participants are assigned into two waves, based on estimated pace, starting at 8:15 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. A $100 entry fee benefits The American Indian Community House. For entry information, click here.
Hot to Turkey Trot
Beautiful Alley Pond Park in Bayside Queens is the location for your choice of a two-mile or five-mile run. The fun kicks off with a free Kiddie Dash at 9:00 a.m. The main event starts at 9:30 a.m. A $30 entry fee ($35 on race day) gets you food, swag, and benefits the Never Stop Running Foundation. For entry information, click here.
Sri Chinmoy Thanksgiving Day Race
Come to historic Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens for a scenic run that starts at the north end of Meadow Lake, passing the iconic World's Fair Unisphere, Fountain of the Planets, Queens Zoo, New York State Pavilion and Queens Museum of Art. Choose from either a 5K or 10K loop. Race starts at 9:00 a.m. with a Kids Race at 8:30. $30 entry fee gets you a hat, finisher photo, and benefits the park. For entry information, click here.
Spend Thanksgiving morning running along the Atlantic Ocean. This 5K run begins and ends at Beach 108th Street and the Boardwalk in Rockaway Beach, Queens. Check in starts at 8:00 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. start. A $40 registration fee gets you a t-shirt, water and Gatorade. For entry information, click here.