10 Thanksgiving Day Races in Minnesota
Before stuffing your face, watching football, and taking a post-turkey snooze this Thanksgiving, join Minnesotans and start your holiday with a turkey trot.
According to the Caloric Control Council, an average American will consume more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. In order to burn that many calories you would need to run a full marathon plus more.
Unfortunately there are no marathons in the Twin Cities on Thanksgiving Day, but there are many shorter distance races to get the heart pumping.
Here is a preview of 10 Thanksgiving Day races in Minnesota (and one in Wisconsin), with details from some of the race directors about what makes them unique.
Here is the most recent calendar! Check it often, and read below for some specifics on each race.
1. Lifetime Turkey Day 5k
8 am, Downtown Minneapolis
When it comes to Thanksgiving day races in Minnesota, the Lifetime Turkey Day 5k is a big one. Now in its 25th year, it is Downtown Minneapolis starting and finishing a few blocks from the Target Center.
Kelly Donahue, the race organizer, says,
The course offers a spectacular view of the city without any traffic on the holiday morning, running on city roads and along the river. Also we’re an extremely family friendly event allowing strollers and youth to race.
New this year is the “Largest Colony Contest” for families and friends to enter as groups competing for the most people to win a $50 gift card to Cowboy Jacks just a couple blocks from the finish line.
Also the race has two partner charities. A portion of the registration fee goes to The Life Time Foundation whose mission is to help improve the quality and nutrition of school lunches in MN. The other is 2nd Harvest Heartland, an emergency food system.
“We offer plenty of entertainment before and after the event, hot beverages, a free photo booth, turkey bowling, and a big REI sweepstakes to name a few,” says Donahue. “The top finishers receive pumpkin pies and $25 gift cards to Cowboy Jacks!”
2. St. Paul Turkey Trot 5k, 10k
8am, St. Paul Riverfront
The St. Paul Turkey Trot is now in its 2nd year. The race organizer Adam Kocinski says, “It is quickly ascending as the premier Thanksgiving Day run in the Twin Cities.”
What sets this race apart from other runs in the Twin Cities includes the following:
- Chip timing for both the 5k and 10k runs
- Live Race results online, via text, on Facebook or Twitter
- A high quality long sleeve performance shirt for all runners
- Finisher’s Medallions for BOTH the 10k runners and the 5k Runners
“All runners also receive a host of post-race refreshments and food, on-course hydration support and a TON of family and friends to help bring them into the finish line with cheer,” says Kocinski.
3. Chaska Turkey Trot 5k
November 8, 8:15 am, Chaska
This Thanksgiving day race in Minnesota is actually on November 8! The Chaska Turkey Trot is a fundraiser for the Chaska DECA chapter and Chaska Rotary, and the funds go towards the Rotary International END POLIO NOW campaign.
Some highlights from the event according to the race coordinator, Greg Anderson, are the following:
- Relatively easy certified course with chip timers and is professionally managed by Anderson Race Management.
- Each age group winner gets a frozen turkey.
- Lots of great food inside after race in CHS commons featuring Culver’s Frozen Custard
- Cool t-shirts for the fall race season.
- An early Turkey Trot means less chance of frost bite… maybe.
- Chance to watch older Rotarians partnering with anxious high school students gives event an energy uncommon in area.
4. Drumstick Dash 10k
8 am, Lake Harriet
The Drumstick Dash 10K course laps twice around Lake Harriet. The race is chip timed by MTEC, is USATF certified, and all participants receive a technical shirt. Course is moderately hilly on north and south ends, flat on east and west sides.
Also there is a Cranberry Cruise One Mile, Cranberry Kids Half Mile, and a Pi Run. The “Pi Run is 3.14 miles. One lap around Harriet instead of two,” says Barb Leininger from Running Ventures.
Sign-up early because the Drumstick Dash field is limited to 1,500 to ensure everyone has room to run at their own pace. The Pi Run will be limited to 250 participants.
5. Fast before the Feast 5k, 10k
8:15 am, White Bear Lake
The proceeds gathered from the Fast before the Feast race help stock local food shelves. This year the race hopes to raise 5 tons of food for the shelves, and they need your help.
The great folks at Caribou Coffee will be handing-out coffee and hot chocolate to all race participants. Also if you bring a full bag of food to donate, you’ll receive a Caribou coupon and your bib number is entered in a raffle to win local businesses gift cards and services.
6. Gobble Gallop 5k
9 am, Duluth, MN
The Gobble Gallop is a Thanksgiving Day tradition. The event consists of three race– Gobble Gallop 5K run/walk, Tough Turkey 1 mile run, and Gobble Giddy Up kid’s 1/4 mile run. All three events start and finish next to the Rose Garden on London Road and follow an out and back course through Downtown Duluth along Superior Street.
All registrants of the Gobble Gallop and Tough Turkey will receive a long sleeve tech t-shirt, a chip time, and a coupon for $20 off any pair of shoes at Duluth Running Co.
The Gobble Gallop is produced by Duluth Running Co. and a portion of the event proceeds go to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.
7. IRIS Turkey Trot 5k, 10k
The 6th Annual IRIS Turkey Trot presented by southernminnSCENE.com raises awareness of pregnancy loss and infant death and is only 40 minutes south of the metro area on 35W.
“Thanksgiving is about being Thankful, something that grieving parents cannot easily do. It is also the start to the Holiday Season and the Holidays are very focused on children. What better way to offer support and compassion then to honor the memory of children who have passed away and offering support to their families,” says Diana Sundwall, Founder and Executive Director of IRIS.
Begin Thanksgiving Day with a 10K run, 5K run/walk, or Tot Trot.
8. ThanksGiving Day – GivingThanks 5k
9 am, Lakeside Pavilion Como Lake
By participating in the 9th annual ThanksGiving Day – GivingThanks 5k you are actively celebrating gratitude. Grab family and friends to run or walk around beautiful Como Lake on a USATF certified 5k course with a home-made shirt starting with the phrase “GivingThanks for…”
Some perks of the race include the following: free nearby parking, indoor restrooms, motivating holiday theme music, announcer, warm hospitality, healthful post-race tasty treats, free fabulous photography slideshow, and pro-video to document the race.
9. Wild Turkey Wattle 5k
8am, St. Elk River
The Wild Turkey Wattle takes place at the Woodland Trails Park and raises funds for the Elk River Nordic Ski Team. Kirstin, the race organizer, says, “While you may see real wild turkeys out and about on the course, you can’t miss our giant turkey mascot that is ready to cheer you on, take pictures with you and your family, and run with the kids.”
New this year is the ability to pick-up your packet the day before the race.
Kirstin add, “We offer a great event that is large enough to feel like you are running a race but small enough that you won’t feel lost in the crowd.”
The race is sponsored by the local Diamond City Bread Company who give away extra loaves at the end of the race. What a great treat to share at Thanksgiving Dinner! Also the race is asking for food donations this year to help stock local food shelves.
10. Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk
7:15 am, University of Wisconsin of River Falls (yes, Wisconsin made the list)
The 16th Annual Turkey Trot hosted by the Health and Physical Education Club allows the Health and Physical Education majors at UW-River Falls students attend National and State health and physical education related conferences.
“Runners get to enjoy a scenic tour of our beautiful campus! A couple things that we have added to our race this year are an awesome turkey/thanksgiving related costume contest and a delicious pancake breakfast (for free!) for all runners after the race,” says Shelby McChesney, the race coordinator.
11. Turkey Trail Trot 5k, 10k
8:00 am, St. Paul
Ok, this list goes to 11… The Turkey Trail Trot is part of the Urban Trail Series. This is the 4th and final event of the 2014 series. The race goes over the hills at Battle Creek park. On their website they say,
It’s Thanksgiving, DO NOT run the roads, you did that all year. Run the Turkey Day TRAIL Trot; you, your friends and your family will be glad you did! Gobble Gobble.
The first 400 runners to register will receive a Turkey Day Trail Trot pint glass, hot cider or hard cider to put in the glass after the event, post race food and beverages along with prizes and chip timing.
What other Thanksgiving Day races in Minnesota have you seen? Are you planning on running one?