Running a turkey trot in the morning has almost become as synonymous with Thanksgiving traditions as the gravy boat, the mountain of stuffing, and the post-meal nap (belt undone, thank you). And while you can pretty much drive in any direction from the home where you’ll be feasting and find one within 20 minutes, one of the longest-running trots will be happening right here among the River Towns. Tradition should count for something, even if you’re new to the concept of earning your turkey.
Flemington, NJ | Thanksgiving (November 28)
Downtown Flemington may seem like an unlikely destination for a chilly Thanksgiving morning. Yet last year’s 5K trot and Fitness Walk drew nearly 6,000 people from 29 states and several countries.
It’s not a particularly challenging or picturesque course. What makes it so popular, then? Tradition.
Not to get all sappy, but most of us eventually learn that Thanksgiving is less about where you spend it, and even what you gorge on for dinner, than it is the company you keep. Among the thousands of runners and walkers that’ll line up this year, you won’t need to look that hard to spot three generations from the same family. And each time someone new is brought into the fold, it reinforces the tradition.
That said, the run isn’t a relic. In fact, the 5K is USATF-sanctioned. And rumor has it that a new course is going to be unveiled for this year’s edition (which starts at 9:30 AM). Though, the changes are expected to be “slight.”
Lambertville, NJ, and New Hope, PA | Thanksgiving
Newer to the scene is the Two-Town Turkey Trot, which begins outside Lambertville Station, crosses the river into New Hope, and finishes back in Lambertville. There’s a one-mile Health Walk, too.
It’s an especially early start—8 AM for the 5K, though you should plan to get there closer to 7 AM because parking could be a challenge with all the street closures—but the chance to run unimpeded through the usually-congested avenues of New Hope and Lambertville is too good to pass up.
If your idea of a Thanksgiving well spent is sleeping in, eating to excess, and slipping into tryptophan-induced coma, running a turkey trot could take some getting used to. Register first—both of these trots fill up fast—then attempt a few morning runs over the next couple of weeks to get your body and mind acclimated.
These aren’t really races—at least, that’s not why most run them—but it would be nice to put in an honest effort. It’ll make the mashed potatoes taste that much creamier and the post-dinner feel well-earned.