9 Races to Run on Thanksgiving Day

Take part in a healthy Thanksgiving tradition — run in one of many pre-meal races in the region

By Kyra Mancine

Thanksgiving Day is one of the biggest racing days in the U.S., according to Runner’s World magazine. There are many reasons for this. To start, recreational running has become more popular than ever. Races aren’t just about the running, but the family-friendly atmosphere and camaraderie — for participants and spectators. In addition, most people have time off, so it’s easy to coordinate going to a holiday race together. Since the big meal starts later in the day, doing something active is a great way to bond, get out of the way of whomever is cooking at home and alleviate guilt from the overindulging that is about to take place.

While the Buffalo Turkey Trot holds the distinction of being one of the largest and oldest races in North America, Rochester is no turkey when it comes to offering Thanksgiving Day races — both old and new.

Here are a few in the area to choose from:

Webster Turkey Trot. 10 a.m. Parkview Lodge, Webster Park, Webster.

This race has been a tradition in Webster for 46 years. It had its humble beginnings as a practice run for a cross-country team in 1972. It has grown into the biggest local race, with attendance of more than 4,600 people. You have your choice between a 4.4 mile course or a 2.5 mile fun run. Expect costumes (people dressed as turkeys, a fork and knife, in tutus, with headbands, etc.) and a huge, rowdy crowd — it’s all part of the fun

Visit: http://yellowjacketracing.com/races/webster-turkey-trot

Race with Grace. 9 a.m. 990 Manitou Road, Hilton.

Up for a longer distance? This certified 10k (6.2 mile) race was established in 1991. The race starts in front of the First Bible Baptist Church on Manitou Road “following a flat, fast course that finishes in the north parking lot of the church.” More than 1,000 runners have participated in this annual race in years past.

Visit: www.rwg10k.com

Feast of Burden. 9 a.m. One War Memorial Square, Rochester.

This inaugural 5-mile race will take place on flat roads through downtown Rochester and near the University of Rochester with a start and finish outside the Blue Cross Arena.

Visit: www.medvedrunwalk.com/feast-of-burden-5-miler

Cystic Fibrosis Turkey Trot. 9 a.m. at 26 Maple St. Wyoming.

Want a small, low-key race that’s still festive with music, prizes and all for a great cause? Give this one a try! This 5k is a short drive away, and has been going on since 2013.

Visit: www.cfteamnatalie.com/cfturkeytrot.html

Hornell YMCA Turkey Trot. 9:30 a.m. 18 Center St., Hornell.

If you’re traveling to see relatives a little outside of town, this might be a good choice. This 5k race has been going on for 24 years. There is also a fun run for kids that starts at 9:00 a.m.

Visit: http://yellowjacketracing.com/races/hornell-ymca-turkey-trot

Newark Turkey Day Race. 9 a.m. 303 East Ave., Newark.

Another long-standing tradition, this 5-mile race starts at the Alex Eligh Community Center. Race prizes are handed out by 11:30 a.m., so if you’re looking for a race that ends promptly so you can be home earlier, consider this one.

Canandaigua Turkey Trot. 9 a.m. F.A. Baker Memorial Park, Canandaigua.

Celebrating its 8th year, this not timed race benefits the Friends of Ontario ARC, a foundation that provides programs and services for people with disabilities.

Visit: http://ontarioarc.org/event/turkey-trot/

Turkey Classic. 9 a.m. Southeast Family YMCA, 111 E. Jefferson Rd, Pittsford.

This 5-mile race isn’t on Thanksgiving Day, but it’s worth a mention. If for some reason you can’t run on turkey day, this is a great option. The post race feast is worth running the 5 miles it includes all sorts of chili and other food. Over 450 people participate in this event annually. The one mile fun run/walk starts at 8:10 a.m and is capped at 150 participants. Date: Sunday, Nov. 19.

Visit: http://rochesterymca.org/southeast/turkey-classic