6 Reasons Your Family Should Make The Turkey Trot A Thanksgiving Day Tradition

Festival Foods Turkey-Trot

The Festival Foods Turkey Trot is becoming a huge deal across the Badger state and it continues to grow bigger each year.

More than 25,129 trotters have already signed up throughout the eight race locations in Wisconsin, and 9,450 of them are first timers! Green Bay is in the lead with the most runners, and Appleton is a close second.

This year, they’ve taken it beyond turkeys and humans. Our dogs are now even invited on the two mile route!

  • Click Here to Read more about the Turkey Trot Dog Jog

I’m excited to run the 5-mile trot this year with most of my family, and mostly for fun. The first time I participated, I was training and very well prepared to kick the race course’s butt. This time…I can’t remember the last time I even went for a walk. Plus, it’s been a few years, two kids and one desk job later – so I’m not anticipating a rewarding chip time.

But that’s one thing that makes the Turkey Trot a great event for everyone of all ages and physical ability.

You can be a competitive athlete fighting to win one of the 10 frozen turkeys at the finish line, or you can simply decide to get up a little early on Thanksgiving for a nice brisk 2-mile (untimed) walk with the family to help start your day off right!

I asked my husband to do the Turkey Trot with me this year. He very quickly and with no hesitation whatsoever said, “NO WAY.” Well, I’m sure all he’s thinking is that it’s cold, it’s early and it’s way too hard. However, little does he know, there are six way better reasons to join our fellow turkey trotters this holiday than there are reasons to pass it up.

So there! Here they are…

1. You’ll make More Room for Turkey & Mashed Potatoes

The traditional Thanksgiving feast typically includes a big fat turkey, creamy green bean casserole, buttery mashed potatoes, tasty stuffing, sweetly tart cranberries, crazy good pumpkin pie with whip cream and a much needed glass of wine.

But this one delicious meal packs in about 2,170 calories – and that’s before going back for seconds! Besides that, many of us have multiple family dinners to go to and our poor stomachs just don’t have enough room for all this good food!

You can probably guess why the Turkey Trot is a good idea in this case…

We all know exercise burns calories! Whether you walk it or run it, the Turkey Trot starts the holiday off with a helpful boost for your metabolism. In fact, Active.com points out in an article how morning exercise can help jumpstart your day.

Exercise physiologist Tina Schmidt-McNulty says…

“Early morning workouts rev up your metabolism, jump start your energy level and accelerate your ability to burn up calories.”

Livestrong.com also explains that if you exercise in the AM, your body actually burns calories faster and more efficiently throughout the rest of the day. I figured if I can run the entire 5 miles, I will burn about 543 calories.

  • You can figure out your estimated calorie burn per mile too with a little math…

Running: .75 X your weight (in lbs.)

Walking: .53 X your weight (in lbs.)

That should help clear a little space in your belly, right? Plus, early morning workouts help you have fewer food cravings throughout the day too. So maybe you’ll be able to resist that third piece of pie this year if you do the Turkey Trot!

2. You’ll get along Better with Your Relatives

We love our family, we do! But sometimes the stress of hosting, the pressure of traveling, the rush from one place to the next, the fear of burnt turkey and lumpy gravy and the burden of making sure you chat with all the relatives you hardly ever see can really challenge our thankfulness!

I’ll admit I’ve been to more than one grumpy and dramatic thanksgiving dinner. Who doesn’t love the good ‘ol family drama?

If this sounds like you or your family on Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot just might be able to help!

Exercise is nature’s mood enhancer. It releases endorphins AKA feel-good hormones, which give you natural stress relief. And if you do it first thing in the morning it leaves you in a good mood the rest of the day. Besides that, you’ll have more energy, better focus and you’ll sleep like a baby when Thanksgiving is finally done.

3. It Makes a Fun family Tradition

Festival Foods Turkey Trot Hats

Turkey Trots hats & Bandannas are sold at Festival Foods Stores

The same thing over and over can just get to be plain boring.

Thankfully my husband’s family has always incorporated fun traditions into the holidays. During Thanksgiving dinner, we take turns ringing the bell to get everyone’s attention. Then we drop one of our three corn kernels of thankfulness into a hallow turkey knick knack and tell everyone what we’re thankful for.

Bowling has also been a fun turkey day tradition over the years. Especially the years I get a turkey (ya know, three strikes in a row).

But this year my side of the family will start a new tradition. The Turkey Trot! It’s the perfect activity to do together making for a good bonding experience. Even your community benefits from the cohesiveness of working towards one goal as a group – especially when everyone wears those fun turkey hats and bandannas!

Kids and pets are no excuse for ditching out either, because dogs, strollers and wagons are all allowed on the 2-mile route.

4. You’ll be doing a Good Deed for a Good Cause

It’s good to remember all of the things you have to be thankful for on turkey day. But the nice thing about the Turkey Trot is that it benefits the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA in your community.

The Turkey Trot has donated a total of $681,000 to these two organizations in the past five years! It feels good to be a part of this cause and to do something that helps others on Thanksgiving Day.

5. You’ll Get a Neat T-shirt & a Free Pumpkin Pie

2013 Turkey Trot T-Shirt

2013 Turkey Trot T-Shirt

Of course you won’t just be contributing to a good cause without getting something for it! Each year you’ll get a Turkey Trot long sleeved t-shirt and a mini Festival Foods pumpkin pie for participating.

The t-shirts are good quality and a different color every year. This year charcoal grey won the vote  – and you shall wear it with pride all year long!

When you get your pie, they give you the option to donate it to your local food shelter. I love this!

I will definitely do that again this year with my pie – and I hope it makes whoever gets to enjoy it very happy on Thanksgiving!


6. You Won’t Get Heat Stroke in November’s Wisconsin Weather

Who knows what the weather may bring for us on November 28th this year, but if people can sit shirtless in ice cold bleachers to root for the Pack in the middle of a Wisconsin winter, then I can bundle up and take an hour out of my morning to go for a run!

It technically is still fall. It could work out to be a nice sunny one after all – You never know.

The average November temperatures for eastern Wisconsin are usually around 27-30 degrees for the low and 42-45 degrees for the high. I’d much rather be running in cool temps like this than the hot blazing humidity we get during the summer.

Festival Foods Turkey Trot Information:

  • Click Here to Register for the Turkey Trot until November 23rd, or register on race day for a few dollars more.
  • Early pick up for race day packets is Wednesday, November 27 from 2-6pm (3-6 in Marshfield) at your race location. Or, pick up starts at 6:30am on Thanksgiving Day at your race location.
  • Turkey Trot Frequently Asked Questions

Check out this funny 30 second video Y100 put together on how to train hard for the Turkey Trot!

Do you plan to do the Turkey Trot this year? Have you ever in the past? Tell us what you think about adding the Trot to your holiday family traditions…

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*Calorie Burning Formula adapted from “Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running,” Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, Cameron et al, Dec. 2004.

Images courtesy of Turkey Trot Facebook

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