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Races and events

Grateful for the gobble: in praise of the turkey trot

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With deeper history than you'd think for a bird-themed race, the so-called Turkey Trot traces its roots nearly 125 years back, in Buffalo, NY and continues to bring runners and families together year after year.

What is a turkey trot?

Have you ever seen a turkey trot? It's no ostrich — the celebrated Thanksgiving bird has a stride that's more of a wobble than a run. But we're not here to discuss fowl running technique (at Brooks, we believe there's no wrong way to run.)

No, we're talking about the popular annual race that happens all over North America around the Thanksgiving holidays: the turkey trot.

The holiday race began in New York in 1896. That first year, six runners ran a 5-mile cross country race on dirt roads through downtown Buffalo. Year after year, runner participation increased in the original turkey trot, and other races began popping up for Thanksgiving all over the east coast. As running grew in popularity, so did the number of turkey trots.

Over time, competitors began to dress up at the turkey trot in Buffalo. Runners wore everything from turkey costumes and superhero gear to banana suits, and the fun trend stuck.

Turkey trots are also sometimes known as Thanksgiving 5ks, but each event has its own way of doing things. Some trots include shorter or longer distances, different age groups, relays, and more.

Train for your trot

Getting ready for a race is like prepping your Thanksgiving meal — if you don't have a proper plan in place, your day could turn from fun to folly in a hurry. Check out one of our race training plans created by Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey. Thanksgiving is coming up quickly. If race registrations have closed, use these plans to train and race on your own — even if it's not on Thanksgiving day.

No time to train? No worries.

Don't let a lack of formal training stop you from stepping up to the starting line. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your Turkey Trot without piling on the pressure:

  • Stick to shorter races. If there are multiple distances at your local event, such as a 10k or a 5k, opt for the shorter distance to maximize fun without risking injury.
  • Wear a costume. Seriously. Donning some festive attire can shift your mindset from one that's pressure-filled to one that's focused on soaking up the holiday atmosphere and community.
  • Set a strategy — then stick to it. Sure, you may not be in peak shape right now. But you can practice setting a goal and executing a race plan. For example, you might decide to complete the race repeating intervals of five minutes of running followed by two minutes of walking. Sticking to that all the way through the finish line requires discipline and commitment, just like any race goal.
  • Recruit family and friends. When you're pondering whether to sign up for a race when you haven't been training or running consistently, think about making it an inclusive, social event. Signing up as a family or group of friends and completing a race together takes the focus off performance and emphasizes the benefits of getting outside with people you love.

Shop the article.

If you need some gobble-y good apparel, don't miss our Turkey Trot Collection. Be sure to explore our Shoe Finder and Bra Finder to find the right gear for you.

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