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Racing on Thanksgiving Day

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, November 17, 2013
in Road Races


When you think of Thanksgiving Day the first thing that comes to mind is probably turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and pie.  For many, Thanksgiving is also associated with a sporting event.  You might be thinking football, but there's another type of event that thousands of people participate in each Thanksgiving Day...running a road race.

According to the website Running in the USA there are 68 road races on Thanksgiving Day in New England. Chances are if you're a runner you will be running a race that day. These holiday races are also filled with families and friends who have a tradition to run their local Thanksgiving Day race each year. For many of these entrants it is the only race or even the only run they complete all year. The question is...Why do we run on Thanksgiving Day?  I did some research and did not find a definitive answer. It appears that the idea of burning calories off the morning of our big Thanksgiving Day Feast is a popular reason. Also, the idea of a holiday tradition seems to be important to many.

I do not have a long standing tradition of running on Thanksgiving Day. This year will be my 7th year in a row. Running a local Thanksgiving Day Race is convenient, so you don't have far to travel after the event. My hometown race is the Lowell Thanks 4 Giving 5k. This race has only been around for 12 years. I have completed this race 9 times and plan on entering every year. I really enjoy the atmosphere of running Thanksgiving morning and including this race in my holiday traditions.

New England is not the only place where Thanksgiving Day Races are popular. The oldest Thanksgiving Day Race in the country is the Buffalo Turkey Trot (118 years) followed by the Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati, Ohio (104 years). One of the biggest events is The Dallas Turkey Trot which has over 25,000 entrants.

 What races do we offer on View The Race? We currently have 12 Thanksgiving Day events. See our list below.

Feaster Five

The Feaster Five Road Race in Andover, Massachusetts is one of the biggest road races in New England with 10,000 entrants competing in either the 5k or 5 mile races. This race often has some local celebrities competing and will be celebrating its 26th year in 2013. I completed this race only once. (32:46 in the 5 miler)

Thanksgiving Day Road Race

The Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Southport, Connecticut will be celebrating its 35th year in 2013 and has around 5,000 entrants. This race is a distant second to the Manchester Road Race in Manchester, CT which has 13,500 entrants and is in its 77th year. Unfortunately we do not have that one on VTR.

Dreamcatcher Classic

The Dreamcatcher Classic Road Race in Weymouth, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 21st year in 2013. This is a great event with 1500 entrants competing in either the 2 mile or 5 mile road races. Proceeds support the Julie Rodick Scholarship Foundation.


The Thanks-4-Giving Road Race in Lowell, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 12th year in 2013. This race offers both a 5k and 10k race. This is my home course and I plan on being one of the over 1000 entrants that run every year. This year will be the 10th time I have completed this race. My best time is 19:34. (I always do the 5k.)

Turkey Trot Road Race

The 5k Turkey Trot Road Race in Derry, New Hampshire will be celebrating its 40th year in 2013. This is a great 5k road race that runs around Beaver Lake in Derry. This race has close to 1500 entrants. I have done this race once. (20:10)

Whitin Five Mile Road Race

The Whitin Five Mile Road Race in Whitinsville, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 25th year in 2013. This race has a great history and has close to 1000 entrants every year. The race starts and finishes at the Whitinsville Town Common.

Ayer Fire Department Thanksgiving Day Road Race

The Ayer Fire Department Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Ayer, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 9th year in 2013. This race has grown in popularity with close to 800 entrants every year.

 The Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5k

The Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5k in Manchester, New Hampshire is only in its 3rd year in 2013 but already has over 1000 entrants. This race starts near Delta Dental Stadium and actually finishes with a run around the warning track and a finish line near home plate.

Ashenfelter 8k Classic

The Ashenfelter 8k Classic is a Thanksgiving Day tradition in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Join over 2,500 runners as they start Thanksgiving Day with a road race! This rolling course features long straightaways with few turns. Proceeds from this race benefit the Glen Ridge Educational Foundation.

Run 4 the Pies

 The Run 4 the Pies four mile road race is a Thanksgiving Day tradition in Tequesta, Florida. Over 1500 runners start their Holiday with a great run through the neighborhoods of Tequesta. This race is well organized by the Palm Beach Road Runners and supports the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd's Food Pantry.

Marathon Sports Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler

The Marathon Sports Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler is a great Thanksgiving tradition in Somerville, Massachusetts. Join over 2,000 runners as they start off the holiday with a 4 mile run through the streets of Somerville. The course is mostly flat with just a few small rolling hills.

York Turkey Trot 5k

Please note this race is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving....The York Turkey Trot 5k is a great Thanksgiving Weekend tradition in York, Maine. This 5k course passes by many famous York landmarks including The Old Parish Cemetery, Civil War Monument, and the Hartley Mason Reservation. Celebrate the holiday with a great Thanksgiving Weekend 5k in York!


Pies at the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Race

If you already have a tradition of running on Thanksgiving Day hopefully I have filmed your race. Watch the video of the course and get excited about this year's race. If you do not have a Thanksgiving running tradition consider one of the above events. If you are not near one of the above events check your local race calendar...chances are there is a race near you.

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