Why you Should Run one of these 8 Thanksgiving Day Races
Thanksgiving is a glorious day! Parades, football and eating until we’re sleepy is part of the tradition. It’s a day to celebrate the many ways our lives have been blessed, in spite of difficult times.
A tradition in my family is going around the dinner table and saying what we’re thankful for. This year I am thankful for my family, new son and new adventures in life. I’m thankful for a marathon PR, and ability to continue running. Until we’re injured, we often take being active for granted.
Another tradition for many is a Thanksgiving Day race. It’s the busiest race day of the year, as you may want to burn extra calories before eating yourself into a turkey induced coma. They’re fun for the whole family.
Here is a breakdown of 8 Thanksgiving Day races, with details from the race directors about what makes them unique.
Gobble Gait Thanksgiving Race
7 am, Hastings, MN
Gobble Gait offers a 2k and an 8k. Although it’s casual, it’s “top finishers post times well under 30 minutes for the 8K” says race director Brian Radke. The 2K is great for kids and other family members who may want something a bit shorter. Both races allow strollers and walkers.
The course begins and ends in Historic Downtown Hastings. Along the way, you’ll find professional DJ music at every mile, as you make your way along the Mississippi and through parts of residential Hastings. Most importantly, Gobble Gait has raised nearly three quarters of a million dollars for Hastings Family Service since its inception.
St. Paul Turkey Trot
8 am, St. Paul Riverfront
A brand new race this year, the St. Paul Turkey Trot begins and ends along the riverfront in downtown St. Paul. To set this race apart, Caleb Olson race organizer “wanted to offer something both for the serious and casual runner.” There is a 5k and 10k, chip timing with posted online results, finisher medals and a long sleeve shirt to all participants.
This event is also a part of the Minnesota Running Series which encourages runners and participants to stay active during the entire year.
8 am, Lake Harriet
The Drumstick Dash 10K is perfect for runners looking for a timed 10K run on a USATF certified course. “There are start corrals to ensure you have room to run your pace” say Barb Leininger from Running Ventures. This includes 6 minute milers, walkers and everything in between. The course is two laps around Lake Harriet.
New this year is the Cranberry Cruise One Mile walk/run. The mile is also chip timed on a USATF certified course. The One Mile will take place before the 10K, starting at 7:40 a.m.
Turkey Day 5k
Downtown Minneapolis, 8 am.
The Lifetime Turkey Day 5k in downtown Minneapolis is the largest of all the Twin Cities Thanksgiving Day races. Last year, there were 17,500 runners. This race is stuffed with some great perks like,
- Top 20 finishers get a free pumpkin pie
- Hot chocolate and Coffee to all participants
- Kids Carnival / Kids K for parents to leave their child while they go running. Elmo from Sesame Street Live will attend the Carnival to play with the kids.
In 2012 they raised 16,500 lbs of food and donated $14,500 which created 66,500 meals for those in need with Second Harvest Heartland Thanksgiving Food Drive. Another fun tradition is that they pick a handful of participants to run/walk with a Frozen Turkey. The first frozen turkey to cross gets a prize (in addition to keeping the turkey).
Tonka Turkey Trot
Minnetonka High School, 8:30 am
The Tonka Turkey Trot is a “fun and family-oriented 5K run that welcomes runners of all ages” says race organizer Paul Borowski. The event is a fundraiser for the Minnetonka Track and Cross Country programs. This year features a new course, chip timing, and first ever “Tonka Turkey Scoot” – a 100-yard dash for kids.
Prizes will be awarded to age group winners, overall male & female race winners, AND best costume!
Fast before the Feast
White Bear Lake, 8 am.
The Fast before the Feast is a beautiful course running through quiet residential streets and along a golf course. 1,700 Runners spread between the 5k, 10k and a kids race. Plenty of room for you to run.
Judi Fluger, race organizer, noted that “This is a food drive for the Hugo and White Bear Lake food shelves. We’ve given away over 20,000 pounds of food since the race started and thousands of dollars. This year’s goal is 8,000 pounds.”
Caribou, a major sponsor, gives away coffee, hot chocolate and muffins. Bring a full bag of food to donate and you’ll receive a Caribou coupon, as well as being entered into a raffle to win awesome prizes from local businesses.
Turkey Trail Trot
Battle Creek Regional Park, St. Paul, 8 am.
The Turkey Trail Trot is the only Thanksgiving race that is entirely on trails. “Who wants to run on roads when you can run in the beautiful woods?” says race organizer Chris Sanville. Additionally, they give out pint glasses instead of T-shirts.
The unique thing about the trails is that they are just five minutes from St. Paul. “As a foundation, we’re trying to draw attention to the fact that you can live in a city or suburbs, but still enjoy the outdoors on trails!”
Beast 2 Feast
Lake Calhoun, 9 am
According to the Beast 2 Feast team, “this is one of the most beautiful scenic, official 5K courses in the Twin Cities.” Set at Lake Calhoun, this race is a 5k that offers chip timing. It’s also the least expensive event on our list. At just $20, it’s quite a bargain. The event is setup as a run or walk for parents with strollers (starting in back), and ‘speedy’ racers in front. This is a great Thanksgiving Day Race for the whole family!