DENVER -- Tens of thousands of people will be lacing up their running shoes before they let out their belt buckles on this Thanksgiving Day. A pre-dinner "turkey trot" has become as much a Thanksgiving tradition as pumpkin pie.
"Forty-six years ago the community said, 'how can we be thankful, how can we be with our families, and how can we give back?'" said Christine Benero, President and CEO of Mile High United Way, which organizes the annual Turkey Trot in Denver's Washington Park.
Ten thousand people are expected to participate in the Washington Park race this year, but just about every community in the metro is holding some kind of run, walk, or trot.
Many runners consider it a chance to burn off extra calories before sitting down to a huge meal. But Orange Theory trainer Mike Nekuda says one 5K alone isn't enough.
"Some people can take in 2,000-3,000 calories during a Thanksgiving meal," said Nekuda. "A rough estimate is 100 calories per mile, so you can go out and burn 300 to 500 calories in a turkey trot," he added. But, he said, doing some activity is better than nothing, and a turkey trot is good way to enjoy running with friends.
Most turkey trots are fundraisers, so a big reason people participate is to give back to their community.
"All the funds that are raised go to support the programs and the work of Mile High United Way," said Benero. "We believe that every family, every child, everyone who calls the Denver area home should have the opportunity to thrive, and that’s what this race is really all about," she said.
Here's a list of the various Thanksgiving Day race events in the metro:
- Mile High United Way Turkey Trot - Washington Park
- Broomfield Turkey Day
- Highlands Ranch Turkey Day
- Stanley Harvesting Hope - Stapleton
- Gobble Wobble 5k - Littleton
- Parker Turkey Day 5k
- Castle Rock Turkey Trot
- Louisville Turkey Trot
- Fitness Avenue Johnstown Turkey trot
- Loveland Turkey Trot
- NCMC Turkey Trot 5k - Greeley
- Pilgrimage Run - Erie
- Turkey Trails South Denver - Centennial