Thanksgiving Guide

5 Can’t-Miss Turkey Trots

Trot along scenic Valley roads this Thanksgiving with these Turkey Day-inspired races


Racegoers show their Thanksgiving spirit at the New Paltz Turkey Trot

Photograph by Jamie McGothlin

Some turkeys get a presidential pardon; others try to trot away but don’t make it. If you’re in the group that has deep compassion for the animal that’s become the edible symbol of a national celebration, or simply want to work off calories before consuming too many, here’s your salvation: a walk, trot, or run before the big meal. And just so you know what you’re up against: A big dollop of bread stuffing means 352 calories to work off, a serving of mashed potatoes involves 214 calories, and one slice of pumpkin pie adds another 323 calories. All told, according to the Calorie Control Council, the average diner consumes more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat in this one holiday meal.

The 9th Annual Kingston 5K Turkey Trot will be held November 19 at 9 a.m. from the Hilltop Athletic Association. There’s a Kids’ Mash Dash at 10 a.m. right after the main race, which this year is held in memory of Paula Cazeault, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2010.

The Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club Turkey Trot, held Thanksgiving morning, November 24, starts at Arlington High School in Lagrangeville with races to suit numerous types of runners: a 25k, five-and two-mile races, as well as a kids’ race. Adult pre-registrants receive a Turkey Trot souvenir, which in the past has been a coffee mug, wine glass, or rain jacket.

The New Paltz Turkey Trot will be held Thanksgiving morning; it starts at the Water Street Market and heads south, bears right onto Plains Road, veers left onto Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, heads back to the Water Street Market, and finally crosses Plains Road. The Mashed Potato kids’ fun run is approximately one-half mile long and starts just as the Turkey Trot finishes. Medals, T-shirts, and photos are available.

Rhinebeck Ferncliff Forest 5k Turkey Trot, also held Thanksgiving morning, benefits projects and operating expenses for maintaining Ferncliff Forest, the area’s privately funded nature preserve. Pre-registrants get a T-shirt; those who show up and race can start their celebration early with free food, too. The course begins on Montgomery Street, goes through gently rolling hills in the forest, and back. The participant who wears the best Thanksgiving-related costume gets another reward: more food with a free dinner for two at The Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck.

Troy Turkey Trot, the city’s premier road race on November 24, features both 5k and 10k distance races, a one-mile walk, and Grade School Mile races or walks. It’s been taking place since 1916, when six runners entered, and now has grown into one of the country’s largest. The 10k serves as the USATF Adirondack 10k championship. Don’t forget to enter the costume contest, too!

This story was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Hudson Valley Magazine. It has since been updated for 2016.

Hungry for more T-Day content? Surf through our Thanksgiving Guide for recipes, how-tos, events, and more! 

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