Running Fiesta

Writing and running in Austin, TX.

The Elusive Turkey Trot

On the other side of the Atlantic, it’s the day before Thanksgiving.

On this side of the Atlantic, it’s the day before my company’s IT department kills our work email because they‘ve apparently forgotten that – aside from smaller to-do’s in Canada, Australia, and some random parts of the Netherlands – there’s no such thing as Thanksgiving outside the US.

For me, no Thanksgiving means more than just no turkey and stuffing: No Turkey Trot!

Of course the Turkey Trot isn’t any one single event. It’s a nationwide tradition that has exploded right along with the US “running boom”. According to, 2010 will see more than 300 Trots around the US. (IMPORTANT: The “Turkey Trot” is NOT to be confused with the “runner’s trots”, unless perhaps you eat the turkey before the race.)

These races are usually pretty short, in the 5K to 5 mile range, and are often family-oriented. The idea was simple but inspired: Everyone will be off work anyway, so let’s have a race and feel a little less guilty about that third serving of pumpkin pie! (And, of course, collect all those entry fees.) At many such events, winners even receive turkeys in place of cash. Thank goodness I’m so slow, lest I have to be that hippy vegetarian who conscientiously objects to my prize.

There’s another reason, aside from slowness, that I’m in no danger of winning a turkey. Despite my long-held fascination with the event, I’ve never actually gotten to run a Turkey Trot. Argh! This is beyond frustrating to me! The fact of the matter is, I always eat at least two pieces of pie at Thanksgiving, and I sure would like that extra 500 calories to play with!

And how fun must the atmosphere at such an event be? We’re all off work, out here with our families, doing something other than watching football! And for those of us in Texas, it’s finally cooler than 85 degrees! Can you think of anything more entertaining? (If you’re not a runner, don’t answer that.)

But no, year after year, inevitably, something occurs to keep me from my much-anticipated Gobbler Gambol. This year, due to geographical circumstances outside my control, it’s the absence of a holiday entirely. Last year, it was a foot joint dislocation incurred in the previous weekend’s San Antonio Marathon. The year before that, it was the much-maligned ITB syndrome…

By some odd twist of circumstance, I – the person most-obsessed with the holidays of anyone I know – the person whose Firefox browser theme at work is Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa and driving a sleigh – the person who has invited 7 Germans over this weekend for a Thanksgiving dinner I’m not even confident I can produce – I have never run a Turkey Trot. Or a Jingle Bell Jog. Or a Christmas Caper. Even the Aachen Winterlauf was sold out before I got here!

So I suppose I’ll just do the best I can with what I have. Since it’s a Thursday anyway, I’ll run to work. And when I get there I’ll collect my prize of a liter of sparkling water. It’s no turkey, but it’s veggie-friendly, and I do appreciate the under-publicized German law that requires all companies to provide it free-of-charge to their employees. (Ok, it’s not really a law, but it’s pretty amazing nonetheless.) And then, to celebrate my accomplishment, I’ll sit down to a day free of email demands and pick out the perfect Turkey Trot for next year.

Happy trails!

3 comments on “The Elusive Turkey Trot

  1. Jeanine
    November 24, 2010

    Hahah – just as I had emailed you!! Hopefully it goes through! Happy ToFURKEY day! I hope it is a good one friend! Maybe you should make your own pre-race Turkey Trot. Tell your German buds to join if they like, give them an easy 3 mile route and then let the fun begin. Heck, you could even give the "winner" of the race around your neck of the woods a pie to take home. Just a thought…bring the tradition to you! 🙂 Hope it goes well. xoxo J

  2. Jeanine
    November 24, 2010

    ps. It is still over 85 here. F-ing mother nature. Although tomorrow it will be very, very cold. That's more like it.

  3. Emily
    November 26, 2010

    you did not miss anything. not only was it 77 degress at race time, i had to park 1.5 miles away from the starting line and I was worried the cold front + rain was on it's way, so I cut the race short at 3 miles and went back to the car without even finishing. then, after enduring the 77 degree race, it was 45 and windy for the football game. it was hard to believe it was the same day, but hten again, this is texas. we miss you!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 24, 2010 by in holidays, races.
%d bloggers like this: