Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many people have already started planning their family traditions and the decadent feast for the year. Before you load up your plate, consider joining in with one of the many local races available on Thanksgiving morning in the community.

Here are 5 reasons why you should get out and run a Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving.

Head off a calorie coma at the pass

According to research from the Calorie Control Council, we can eat as many as 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day with over 3,000 of those just at dinner alone. Sure, it’s a holiday and many of the dishes are a special treat, but there’s nothing wrong with starting the day with some good old fashioned exercise to rev your metabolism and help your body to burn off some of those excess treats.

What you’ll burn on a 5k run is different for everyone, but you can use this handy calorie calculator to get an estimate of just how much pumpkin pie you earned.

Start a new family tradition

One of the best parts about a Turkey Trot is that the race isn’t just for elite athletes. Many local events feature runs for kids, and most encourage walkers, joggers, and runners. Some will allow pets on the course, and others welcome strollers and even scooters for someone like Grandma who may not be able to cover the whole distance on her own. Signing up for a race can create a new tradition early in the day that the whole family can enjoy.

Stress relief

It’s no secret that the holiday season is a stressful time. According to a 2006 study by the American Psychological Association, 61% of people report feeling stressed during the holidays.   Fortunately, exercise is a great mechanism for coping with stress. Running a 5k will release feel-good endorphins, improve your mood, and help you get centered and focused and ready to enjoy the rest of your day.

Fun race for everyone, even first-timers

Even if you’re not a runner, you can complete the average 5k Turkey Trot. The races are designed to be fun and non-competitive, and the courses typically give you around 90 minutes to finish the 3 miles. Anyone can train to complete a 5k, and with the extra holiday elements you’ll see on the course like costumes, live music, and a cheering crowd, it’s a great event for a first-time walker, jogger, or runner.

Free t-shirts, medals, and swag

Every race has different perks, but no matter where you run you’re sure to come away with some fun memorabilia. For example, the Thanksgiving Day 5k at Germain Arena in Estero gives every participant a dry-fit tech t-shirt and finisher medal. The Gulf Coast Runners Turkey Trot in downtown Naples has a full awards ceremony for top finishers, and the Gobble Gobble Four Miler at Venetian Villages in Naples benefits St. Matthew’s House and 95210 Kids on the Go charities.

For more options in your area, visit our race calendar here or websites like and search for a Turkey Trot near you.