It’s that time of year again. The holidays!
If you’re anything like me, you love the holidays. Time off from work. Visiting with your relatives and crazy in-laws. Meals that start early and seem to last all day long. Relaxing and enjoying time with loved ones. Did I mention the food? This is especially true of one of the great American traditions: Thanksgiving Day.
Each family has their own variations on this most American of holidays, but we all have one thing in common: There will be an enormous amount of food, snacks, and desserts, and most of us will partake with an unrestrained consumption of food not seen on any other day. In the end, we will be passed out in front of the TV, having eaten to our heart’s content and already exhausted with our brother in-law’s boring work stories and inappropriate jokes.
Sounds pretty good, right? (Except for that last part, of course.)
Well, I’d like to offer my humble recommendation for adding another tradition to your Thanksgiving festivities. Why not start your day with a race? Yes, that kind of road running race. You may know of them as a “turkey trot” or “gobbler gallop” or whatever your locality calls it’s annual Thanksgiving Day race. I can’t think of a better way to start off your Thanksgiving then to toe the line and run with your family, friends, and neighbors and prime your personal oven to start burning those inevitable, added calories.
I don’t have any research to back up this claim, but this race probably has the greatest amount of non-runners and one-time-a-year runners than any other throughout the year. Since there are so many new runners out there, you will definitely not be alone as a first time “turkey trot” runner. (Just remember to line up toward the back of the pack if you haven’t been running that much and/or you’re not trying to be competitive.)
If you’ve never done one before, this is a great time to start! First of all, there are usually a lot of different races to choose from. I live near a medium-sized city, and I can think of at least SIX different races that are located within a ten to fifteen mile radius. If you live in a small town, there will probably be at least one race that the town (or local community center or church) sponsors. If you can’t seem to find one, I would suggest searching for a race in a larger, neighboring town or city that will be more likely to host a race.
You’ll also find that one of the best things about the annual “turkey trot” is that the race is usually organized to benefit a good, local charity that you would be proud to support. Most local races generally support a good cause, but you can be sure that your “turkey trot” will donate most, if not all of the proceeds to this cause. This race will attract more people as well, so this will lead to a larger amount of money being donated as well. The holidays are a good time of year to be charitable, and participating in a race is an excellent opportunity to do something good for you and for someone else at the same time!
Thanksgiving is about one week away, so put down the remote, put on your running shoes, and sign up for your local race. You will be doing something active, improving the lives of others, and hey, now you can have that guilt-free third helping of turkey, or second piece of pumpkin pie.