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A turkey trot is a fun run or footrace, usually of the long-distance variety, that is held on or around Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Traditionally, turkey trots are held because Americans anticipate indulgent Thanksgiving feasts and run in turkey trots to burn off calories before the big meal. Turkey trots are also held in the United Kingdom, usually shortly before or after Christmas Day.
In the United States, many courses used for these Thanksgiving events are run at major certified USA Track and Field road race distances between 5,000 and 42,195 meters. Some organizations hold their turkey trots the week prior to Thanksgiving in order to provide festive holiday meals to homeless and low-income families in their community.[vague] Turkey trots range in size from just a few dozen runners to tens of thousands. Most turkey trots benefit local charities. First prize for winning turkey trots is often an actual frozen turkey that the winner can use for his or her family's Thanksgiving feast.
Some turkey trots are prediction races - watches are not allowed, with prizes for finishing closest to your predicted time. Some races have prizes for costumes.
Notable Thanksgiving Day Races include...
- the Troy Turkey Trot began in 1916 with six runners and has grown into one of the largest and oldest turkey trots in the U.S.
- the Buffalo Turkey Trot, the oldest continually running public footrace (established in 1896) in the United States;
- the Dallas Turkey Trot, with more than 25,000 racers annually;
- the Austin Turkey Trot is the largest 5 mile race in Texas, and one of the largest Turkey Trots with over 20,000 racers;
- the Manchester Road Race held in Manchester, Connecticut;
- the Feaster Five Road Race in Andover, Massachusetts;
- the Berwick Run for the Diamonds, a nine mile race first run in 1908 in Berwick, Pennsylvania;
- the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest 5K Fun Run, held on Canadian Thanksgiving in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada;
- the Concord Turkey Trot, in Historic Concord, Massachusetts;
- the Run to Feed the Hungry, in Sacramento, California, was started in 1994 and attracts over 27,000 runners annually.
- the Atlanta Marathon was historically run on Thanksgiving from 1963 to 2009, making it the longest (in terms of distance) turkey trots in the United States. It has since moved its date away from the Thanksgiving holiday.
- the Plymouth Turkey Trot, in Historic Plymouth, Massachusetts as part of America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration;
- the Cuero, Texas Turkey Trot, which features a unique twist on the tradition in which the participants are all actual domestic turkeys. This event is now held on the second weekend of October (coincidentally the same weekend as Canadian Thanksgiving).
- the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot takes places every year in coordination with the city of Clearwater, Florida and the West Florida Y Runner's Club. Annual attendance for this event reaches over 17,000 registered racers.
- the San Francisco Turkey Trot, takes place in Golden Gate Park on Thanksgiving Day.
- The "Smoke the Turkey" Turkey Trot occurs annually on Thanksgiving morning in Sylvania, OH. The 5k race winds through the Saint James Wood neighborhood and regularly attracts over two thousand participants. Many participants adorn costumes or wear Michigan/Ohio State colors (the OSU/UM footbal game is generally played on the fourth Saturday in November).
- The Mile High United Way Turkey Trot, a family running tradition held on Thanksgiving Day in Denver's Washington Park for more than four decades.
- "Mile High United Way Turkey Trot | Mile High United Way". www.unitedwaydenver.org. Retrieved 2015-10-12.