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Burn Off Your Thanksgiving Day Calories with a Fun Run

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
November 19, 2011; 2:48 PM ET

Runners head through the starting line of the JBLM Turkey Trot Nov. 19, 2011. Over 350 racers either participated in the 10K and 5K events. Jim Bryant/NW Guardian. Photo courtesy of Joint Base Lewis McChord The Northwest will see cloudier/rainier conditions this year.

There are many iconic traditions associated with Thanksgiving: football, food, family and, for some, 5k's. Thanksgiving Day fun runs, typically called "Turkey Trots," have become a major part of the holiday for runners across the country. For some, the goal is to make room for more calories at dinner. Many of these races also hold a fundraising element to add to the giving spirit associated with the holiday season.

Fortunately for most major cities, the weather for this year's Turkey Trots will be ideal for running.

Northeast

New York City hosts several Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving Day. The city will be facing some unique challenges this year, however, as a result of Sandy. One of the most iconic races, hosted by Coney Island Sports Foundation, will be donating $3,000 to Sandy relief efforts. Even if the boardwalk race is cancelled, they still plan to hold a walkathon instead.

The oldest race in the country is held in Buffalo. This particular Turkey Trot has been held every year since 1896. Their proceeds go to their local YMCA.

Weather for the Northeast will be favorable for running. Morning temperatures will stay in the 40s and low 50s and skies will be partly sunny. This means temperatures will not be so cold as to cause a good deal of lung irritation that can come with breathing frigid air, but will also not be so hot as to cause an increased risk of over heating. Regardless of temperatures, hydration is always a key issue while performing any kind of physical activity. It will be important for runners to dress in layers often with something disposable at the start line to keep the muscles warm before the races start that can be peeled off and left behind once the running begins.

New England

Many races will be held around the greater Boston area this Thanksgiving. Marathon Sports 16th Annual Gobble, Gobble, Gobble Run, which has been chosen as one of the Top 100 New England Races for the past nine years by New England Runner magazine. The race is held in Somerville, Mass., and benefits Project Soup, the first free-supper program in New England. The race also provides scholarships to local high school students.

Thanks to a high pressure system dominating the East, favorable weather will also be present across New England, which is good news from the Boston Volvo 5K Road Race in Brighton, to the Lake Sunapee Turkey Trot in New Hampshire to Manchester, Conn.'s, 76th Annual Manchester Thanksgiving Day Road Race.

South

The Atlanta Half Marathon starts Thursday morning, as does a 5k fun run for the city. Conditions will be in the 60s and sunny, a result of the same high pressure bringing pleasant weather to the north. This is one of the largest half marathons run in the country with thousands of participants running or walking in the race.

In Raleigh, the Turkey Trot is an 8k that raising money for eastern North Carolina's chapter of the MS Society. Last year the race brought in $28,500 for the cause. The race also includes a costume contest, a competitive race, a recreation race and a children's 100 yard dash for kids under 7.

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Midwest/Central

The high pressure system will spread as far as Chicago, bringing similar temperatures and sunny conditions. The Chicago Turkey Day 5K features adult races as well as fun runs for kids from age 12 (half-mile race) to two (50-yard race). They will be collecting canned goods from participants for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Denver will be hosting it's 39th Turkey Trot for the Mile High United Way. They too ask their participants to also bring canned good for donation. In this case, the recipient is the Food Bank of the Rockies.

Dallas lays claim to the largest Turkey Trot in the country. Usually averaging 25,000 contestants, last year's race broke records with 36,820 participants. This race goes for eight miles, with a three-mile fun run option available, and has been going on since 1968. Proceeds from the race support the YMCA's located in the greater Dallas area.

West

The one area of the country that will face unfavorable weather conditions this Thanksgiving Day is the Northwest. Seattle Turkey Trot runners will face rainy conditions, but the 5k is scheduled to go on. Temperatures will stay in the 40s and low 50s. This race benefits the Ballard Food Bank.

The San Francisco Turkey Trail Trot X displays the average number of calories their participants can expect to burn during their race: 600 calories for the five-mile Turkey Trot run, 300 for the three-mile Pilgrim Promenade walk, and eight calories for the Kids Gobbler Chase that spans 100 meters. The Bay Area will see temperatures in the low 60s and a few clouds for their Thanksgiving Day festivities.

Sacramento hosts its 19th annual Run to Feed the Hungry which will provide support to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. There will be 27,000 participants this year, making this one of the largest races of its kind in the country. While the morning will be a bit foggy, sunny conditions will prevail with temperatures staying in the 50s to low 60s.

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