Each Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I join up with friends for one of our favorite rituals of the year.
No, I’m not talking about the Thanksgiving feast — that comes several hours later — but rather the ritual of waking up to a cold, dark house, suiting up in multiple layers, joining with our friends and lining up with the sleep-deprived horde to run the Turkey Trot race through the streets of downtown Detroit.
Over the years I’ve heard plenty of people say that running a race is a perfectly awful way to mark a holiday marked by indulgence. I wholeheartedly disagree.
Starting Thanksgiving Day with a vigorous run jump-starts your metabolism, so your body more efficiently burns all the calories you take in later from the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It’s also a great antidote to all the sitting around you’re going to do later — and it’s just plain fun. Our post-race regimen involves gathering with our friends over a pot of hot coffee, spicy Bloody Marys and a spread of bagels, lox, cream cheese and other trimmings while we watch America’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV.
Nowadays there are Thanksgiving Day races held all over Michigan. So put on your pilgrim hat, turkey costume, Native American headdress or superhero cape and start running at one of these Turkey Trot races below.
- 30th Fifth Third Turkey Trot, Detroit — This highly festive race has grown exponentially in 30 years — it was the largest race held in Michigan last year — and I’m proud to say I’ve run the last 10 or so in a row. In recent years race organizers have expanded packet pickup points to numerous locations across Southeast Michigan, an added bonus for convenience’s sake.
- Anti-Turkey Trot, Shelby Township — And for the backlash, the Shelby Run Club hosts this 5K, 10K(ish) and untimed 10-mile run in Detroit’s northern suburbs.
- 20th Annual Turkey Trot, Grand Rapids — Head to downtown Grand Rapids and “use your feet before you eat.” Proceeds benefit athletic programs at the city’s public school district.
- Gazelle Sports Gobble Wobble, East Grand Rapids — “Eat like a turkey, run like a Gazelle” at this untimed fun run, a fundraiser for Kids’ Food Basket.
- Lansing Turkeyman Trot — This one is billed as a “scenic accurate and fast 5K through downtown Lansing.” So there ya go.
- Traverse City Trot For Charities — A 5-mile or 5K through downtown Traverse City with all proceeds going to charity and canned food donations going to Saint Francis Food Pantry.
- Kalamazoo Area Runners Turkey Trot Time Prediction 5K — No watches or other timing devices allowed at this race, held on the cross-country course at Portage West Middle School.
- 4th Gobbler Gallop Trail Run & Walk, Saginaw — Get your nature on with this 5K double-loop of a wooded trail along the Tittabawassee River.
- 8th Annual Turkey Trot, Jackson — A 5K run/walk and 10K run benefitting the Jackson YMCA Strong Kids Strong Community Campaign.
- Marquette Turkey Trot — An out-and-back 5K and 10K on a paved bike path.
- Ann Arbor Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot — Runners are asked to bring at least one nonperishable food item to this 5K to benefit the Food Gatherers of Ann Arbor, as well as gently used hats, mittens and footwear for the Salvation Army. Registration closes at 3 p.m. Nov. 20.
Where do you plan to run a Turkey Trot next Thursday?
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