How the turkey trot became a Thanksgiving staple throughout all types of weather
It's a holiday tradition that dates back more than a century, and nothing can stop folks from going for a jog on Thanksgiving morning before a large family feast -- not even a blizzard.
Runners take part in the 49th annual Mile High United Way Turkey Trot early Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in southeast Denver. The 4-mile run and walk had more than 9,000 participants. Mile High United Way, which was the first one established in the world, is celebrating its 135th year of service to the community.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
While Thanksgiving is popularly known as the day Americans consume an incredible amount of calories, a growing fad in recent years also has Americans burning calories on the annually beloved turkey day. Turkey trots are 5k road races that take place all around the country every Thanksgiving, with seemingly every town or county having its own variety.
Remarkably, the history of the turkey trot goes back even further than the Boston Marathon, which is considered the oldest and most prestigious road race in the world. Since the local YMCA in Buffalo, New York, held the original turkey trot in 1896, the idea has spread to all 50 states and, because of its popularity, has made Thanksgiving the most popular running day of the year.
A runner with a hat shaped into a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream takes part in the 40th annual Turkey Trot to raise money for the Denver chapter of the United Way in south Denver on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. Close to 10, 000 runners took part in the race in and around Denver's Washington Park. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Throughout the years, the original turkey trot in Buffalo has maintained its 5-mile distance and continued to hold the event through weather of every variety.
In 2002, the city was hit by over 2 feet of snow in the days leading up to the race. Over 5,000 runners shrugged off the blizzard and still competed.
In the years since that first Turkey Trot, the holiday races held in Dallas and in California's Silicon Valley have become two of the largest races in the country. Both races attract over 25,000 runners and benefit charitable causes, such as YMCA After School programs.
Regardless of the weather conditions on Thanksgiving morning, history says that it won't stop hoards of runners from stepping foot on a starting line. It may not be pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes, but turkey trots have certainly become an American Thanksgiving staple.
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