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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

I’ve done a turkey trot for the past 5 years, and I’m here to convince others to do it too. If you haven’t heard of it before, a turkey trot is essentially a local race—normally a 5k—held on the morning of Thanksgiving. People dress up like turkeys or pilgrims and put on their running gear early in the morning, usually when the sun is just beginning to hit the sky, and you can visibly see your breath in the air. 

I love the turkey trot, and it is the one race I will consistently sign up to do year after year among the random little races I otherwise convince myself to do. But, the turkey trot definitely has its haters. All over social media I’ve seen and heard people say how they “would hate to marry into a turkey trot family.” There’s also been talk about how the turkey trot perpetuates diet culture and the thought that you need to “run off the calories.” That mindset is in the minority because the turkey trot is more about community than anything.

Normally, I would say I hate running with a burning passion; however, I run fairly often though because I’m committed to the craft. But, the turkey trot is a run that brings me so much joy. Races are so fun because everyone is strangely pumped up for it being 7 or 8 in the morning, and everyone is focused on having a good time. Many turkey trots are held across the country so there’s an opportunity to run the race and be a part of a community whether you’re visiting family or away from home for the holiday. 

It’s a great way to get your family involved and spend some quality time together before a big dinner (or lunch depending on the family). I’ve run with my cousins for several years but I’ve also challenged myself to run alone to still be a part of the wider community in my hometown since it’s a fun race that goes to a good cause. Many turkey trots go toward a good cause in the community, which gives an extra motivation to run and support an organization, especially when it’s the season of giving. My hometown’s turkey trot is sponsored by a human services organization so I’m giving back to the community while being supported by it while I run. 

With the seasons changing and the weather getting colder, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get outside, exercise, or both. Signing up for a race gives you the motivation to get moving and do something for yourself, spiking the endorphins to beat the winter blues. At the brink of the holiday season, the turkey trot also kicks off a fun holiday and gets you in the spirit all while giving back. 

Hate aside for early morning runs and cold weather, especially on a holiday, the turkey trot is a great tradition and a perfect way to get involved with your community whether you run it with family, friends, or for yourself. I encourage everyone to push themselves to try it out and start the holiday season off with a little turkey trot. 

Sylvia Mack

Virginia Tech '24

Sylvia is a senior at Virginia Tech studying Communication with a double minor in Sociology and Event and Experience Management.