Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is one of the most popular running days of the year. In 2015, runners completed Turkey Day races—and that’s not even counting all the people who ran Turkey Trots and similar races on the days immediately preceding the holiday.
What makes Thanksgiving such a popular day to run? Well, preemptively attempting to run off all the calories you’re going to eat at your Thanksgiving feast seems like a pretty solid life choice. Plus, these races come with some great perks, from complimentary apple pie to diamonds (yes, diamonds). Check out the 20 most fun Turkey Trot runs we found across the country.
Where: San Jose, CA
Distance: 5K, 10K, kid’s fun run
This Turkey Trot is one of the largest Thanksgiving day races (it’s capped at 28,000 runners). It also boasts a serious Thanksgiving-themed costume competition, and local companies can race each other for bragging rights as the “Fittest Firm” in Silicon Valley.
Where: Arlington, TX
Distance: 5K, 1-mile fun run
Arlington’s Turkey Trot, which takes racers past Ranger's Ballpark and Cowboy's Stadium, comes with some swag that’s actually useful for runners: The top 5K finishers take home a free pair of New Balance running shoes.
Where: Buffalo, New York
The longest consecutively run race in the country (it was started in 1896), Buffalo’s Turkey Trot draws a max of 14,000 runners—many of whom compete in the costume contest before the actual race.
Where: Dallas, TX
Distance: 8 miles, 5K run/walk
In 2011, this Turkey Trot set a world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys—so make sure you dress the part if you’re going to toe the starting line. Runners who can’t make it to Dallas can virtually join in the Thanksgiving day fun too.
Where: Columbus, OH
Distance: 5 miles, 2 miles, kids’ 100-yard dash
The five-mile course takes runners on a “tour” of the Ohio State University, while the new Walk ‘n’ Talk two-miler includes a visit to OSU’s Waterman Farm. And every runner who crosses the finish line takes home a fresh pumpkin pie.
Where: Andover, MA
Distance: 5 miles or 5K
Will run for pie? Get yourself to the starting line of the Feaster Five Road Race, where the first 9,000 finishers will go home with a fresh apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner. Considering only 10,000 people are expected to race, you’ve got a solid chance of earning your dessert.
Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Distance: 5K, kids' 1K fun run
You could race the speedy runners on this USATF-certified 5K course, or you could save your competitive spirit for the Thanksgiving-themed costume contest. There’s also a 5K Run Fitness Walk for those who just want to work out to justify the upcoming feast.
Where: Las Vegas, NV
Distance: half-marathon, 12K, 5K, and 1-mile stroll
This race course, located just off the strip, takes half-marathon and 12K runners along an old railway and through six tunnels en route to the Hoover Dam. The views at the end are worth the nearly 500-foot elevation gain.
Where: Louisville, Colorado
Racing can be an expensive hobby, but in the spirit of (thanks)giving, Louisville’s Turkey Trot is 100-percent free to runners—as long as they show up with a canned good or winter clothing donation. Even better: Dogs are welcome on the course!
Where: Manchester, Connecticut
Distance: 4.748 miles
One of New England’s most prestigious races, Manchester draws runners who are super speedy. But there aren’t just rewards ($1,000) to the first male and female finishers; the race committee also recognizes male runners who have raced 50 times and female runners who have run 40 times.
Where: Denver, CO
Distance: 4 miles, ¼-mile family fun run
The 20,000- participants in this 44-year-old Thanksgiving tradition have more than just Thanksgiving dinner motivating them toward the finish line—once they reach Washington Park, they’re treated to a craft beer garden starring local breweries.
Where: Naperville, IL
Naperville’s flat course is perfect for PRs. But even those who aren’t racing to win come out on top: All 7,800 runners are treated to a free pancake feast post race. Just don’t go too overboard, because you’ve still got Thanksgiving dinner later!
Where: New Orleans, LA
Distance: 5 miles, ½ mile kids’ race
Now in its 110th year, the New Orleans Track Club’s Thanksgiving day race is one of the U.S.’s oldest and continuously held non-marathon races. This year, approximately 2,000 runners will race to raise money for the nonprofit Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans.
Where: Pensacola Beach, FL
The best part about this coastal race course—located between the Santa Rosa Sound and the Gulf of Mexico—isn’t the gorgeous scenery, it’s the fact that you can complete the 3.1 miles with your dog.
Where: Plymouth, Massachusetts
Of course the most important site in Thanksgiving history has a Thanksgiving-themed race. Actually, it has multiple: Run this the weekend before Thanksgiving, then race the Running of the Pilgrims 5K on Thanksgiving Day. Both courses start and end right next to the Mayflower II on the Plymouth Waterfront. How’s that for on-brand?
Where: Berwick, PA
Distance: 9 miles
It’s not quite clear what diamonds have to do with Thanksgiving, but at the fourth-oldest road race in the U.S., the top seven winners take home diamond rings (for men) and diamond pendants (for women). For everyone else, there’s free post-race pizza!
Where: Sacramento, CA
Distance: 10K run & 5K run/walk
The largest Thanksgiving Day fun run in the country, Run to Feed the Hungry—which benefits the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services—had 29,002 participants last year. The course goes from the Sacramento State campus through the city’s tree-lined streets.
Where: Detroit, MI
Distance: 10K, 5K, 1 mile
Dubbed “the parade before the parade,” Detroit’s Turkey Trot kicks off the city’s Thanksgiving Parade. The 21,000- participants (thousands of them in costume) run through downtown, getting parade spectators pumped up for the main event.
Where: San Francisco, CA
Distance: 5 miles, 3-mile walk, kids’ 100-yard dash
Take a cue from the giant turkey mascot who kicks off this 5-miler and dress in costume to race across Golden Gate Park. Winners take home turkeys, pies, and wine—so if you’re super speedy, you could basically consider this race your one-stop shop for Thanksgiving dinner.
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio
Not only do runners get to say they’ve participated in the oldest road race in the Midwest, they also get to brag about running in two states (Ohio and Kentucky) in one day. Plus, this race is home to the U.S.’s largest Goodwill coat drive with 5,000 pounds of coats donated each year.