The past few years we’ve done a Family Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day. I’m sharing all the details on how I put it together!
A family Turkey Trot is a great tradition to start this year
It’s almost time for our annual Thanksgiving Family Turkey Trot! We started to do our own race a few years ago, and it’s become one of my favorite traditions. I always get a ton of questions on how I put it together – and it’s much more simple than you’d expect!
Here’s why we do our own Turkey Trot
The first year we did our own family Turkey Trot, there was a local one put on by the community. I wanted to do it, but it cost about $20/person and started at 7am. Neither of those sounded like things I wanted to do.
So I decided to do my own Turkey Trot! We paid zero dollars and we could sleep in and go whenever we wanted.
The following year we were in Seattle for Thanksgiving so we didn’t do it there. But we’ve done it the two years since, and we will be doing it next week on the beach in South Texas!
How we set up our Turkey Trot
1. Choose your distance
We’ve always done a 5K, which is just over three miles. We’ve taken the boys in the stroller if they were too little to run.
Last year, Philip stayed back with our youngest (he was four) and did about one mile with him while I did the full run with the older boys. Then Philip finished his run after we caught back up to them.
You can do one mile, you could do ten miles. It makes no difference — just choose a distance that works for your family.
2. Map out a route.
I’d recommend starting at your house, just cause it’s easiest and can set up a finish line. But you could also start at a park, or wherever you’d like.
Once you’ve decided your distance, decide roughly what direction you want to go. I don’t ever fully map out the route, I just decide the direction we’re going and then use Map My Run during the run to track our mileage. Once we get to 1 1/2 miles, we turn around. This makes it really simple and you don’t have to have a pre-determined route before you go.
3. Make running bibs for everyone
Our first year I put together running bibs and we used safety pins to pin them to our shirts. Instead of running numbers, I put everyone’s ages as their number.
I think this is the best part! It makes the run feel a little more legit, and creates some camaraderie. They usually partially rip off by the end of the run, but it’s always fun to see everyone running with their bibs like a real race!
(I print them on full pages but then cut them down to be a little smaller)
4. Don’t make it stressful
This is supposed to be fun, so if someone doesn’t want to participate or the kids get too tired and want to turn around, be flexible.
Last year, my boys were tired, but I knew they could keep going. So I encouraged them and they finished strong! But if your kids are going to end in a puddle of tears, it’s not worth it.
Also, when my sister in law and her family visited in 2019, she and my niece didn’t want to participate and that was totally fine, and the younger kids brought scooters along instead of ran. When it’s your own Turkey Trot, anything goes!
5. Make a finish line
If you’re doing it at home, making a finish line is a fun touch to make it feel more special. The two times I’ve done it, I’ve just wrapped white and black streamers around each other and I hung it across our front walkway. The kids loved bursting through it at the end of the run, and it’s the perfect slow-motion video opportunity!
6. End with a yummy breakfast
Don’t forget to end with a tasty reward! Last year we did breakfast crepes, but you could do a breakfast casserole or donuts or coffee cake or pancakes or anything you want.
Everyone’s always more inclined to participate if there’s a good breakfast at the other end of it.
7. Invite friends!
The more the merrier! And they’ll be glad not to pay the $20 participation fee, or get up at 7:00am. We’ve only done it with family, but it would be fun to have neighbors and friends do it together and then have a neighborhood breakfast afterward.
I hope that inspires you to start your own Family Turkey Trot this year!
Here are some photos from our other past turkey trots…