The Everyman: 7 Things To Look For at Your Turkey Trot

From dodging dogs and strollers to receiving a Thanksgiving pie, Turkey Trots have a lot to offer.

From dodging dogs and strollers to receiving a Thanksgiving pie, Turkey Trots have a lot to offer.

We’re about to turn back the clocks, which means two things: start getting up earlier and run during the early-morning sunrise, or invest in a headlamp and some reflective gear so you can safely run in the dark after work.

The first option sounds a lot more appealing.

Going back in time by one hour also means we’re in the season of Turkey Trots. Here are a few things to look for in these annual races:

Dogs And Strollers

Turkey Trots are filled with people who race once a year, which isn’t a bad thing. But often they will run with their dogs or with their children in strollers. They should line up in the back of the field, but if you find yourself trying to pass one on a narrow, crowded street, be careful. A dog can easily get startled with so many people around and cause a collision.

Crowded Aid Stations

With more runners comes more people who need to drink or grab a quick gel, so aid stations will be crowded. If you need a drink, watch out for other runners cutting in trying to grab some water. If you’re not thirsty and don’t need anything, stay in the middle of the road to avoid the crowds around the tables.

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Disorder At The Start

Do yourself a favor and line up in a faster pace group at the start. With so many people in the race either not being familiar with how to line up properly or simply not being realistic about their pace, many of the runners line up too close to the front. If you’re caught behind them, passing them all after the first quarter mile can be tricky and will disrupt your rhythm.

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Funny Footwear

Two years ago at my hometown Turkey Trot, I saw a middle-aged gentleman take off from the start wearing dress shoes. I and everyone else was alerted to his presence by the “Thwack! Thwack!” sound every time his feet hit the ground. I still don’t know if he finished the race. Or if his beat-up feet have recovered.

Extra Layers

Thanksgiving day can be 70 degrees in some parts of the northern half of the country, or it can be in the 20s. If the latter is true (or even if it’s in the 40s), be sure to bundle up. Your body isn’t yet used to the cold winter weather that arrives this time of year. If you have someone with you to cheer you on, have them hold some extra clothes for you. Or stash them in your car. Many Turkey Trots are too small to have a bag check.

RELATED: Runner’s Thanksgiving¬†Survival Guide


Running in costume is a popular thing to do for races around the holidays. So if you see a human-sized turkey darting and weaving through the crowd of runners, don’t worry. Yours is waiting in the oven at home.


Finally, there might be a tasty treat waiting for you at the finish line: a pie to take home to your family for Thanksgiving dinner. Or, if you bonked during the race, it can serve as fuel for your body during the drive home.