Let’s talk turkey…and stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casseroles, sweet potato soufflé….and how much they end up stuck to our thighs rather than our ribs. So what’s a family to do when we’re all bound and determined to throw caution to the wind and indulge in fluffy, buttery goodness this holiday? Kick up our heels for a little pre-dinner race to help jump-start your metabolism! Since you’re busy perfecting the latest miniature pumpkin pie craze, we’ve rounded up some of the coolest Turkey Trots this side of Gobbler’s Notch where the fam can kick up their heels and race each other to the dinner table.

Photo: USAG Italy via flickr

Alexandria Turkey Trot – 42nd Annual Alexandria Turkey Trot 5 Miler
Del Ray’s motto may be “Where Main Street Still Exists” but we think the Trot through the neighborhood’s side streets showcases the true spirit of the holidays. Residents line the streets – and their porcheswith signs, well-wishes and cheers for the more than 4,000 runners who lace up their sneaks and hit the streets before gobbling down on turkey and stuffing. For extra thanks + giving points, the race benefits ALIVE! Each runner must bring two cans of non-perishable food items the day of the race. Last year more than 2,108 pounds of food was collected for ALIVE! so other families were able to gobble, gobble during the holiday season.

When: Nov. 23 at 9 a.m.
George Washington Middle School
1005 Mount Vernon Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Date: November 23
Online: alexandriaturkeytrot.com

SOME 16th Annual Trot for Hunger – Little Turkey Fun Run
Your family’s jakes and jennys (baby turkeys) will love joining the flock for a run just for them! SOME’s Little Turkey Fun Run is a 1 mile race around D.C.’s Freedom Plaza where chicks can burn off energy before tucking into a big plate of Thanksgiving goodness. All the proceeds raised during the Trot for Hunger (and Little Turkey Fun Run) support SOME’s mission to care for homeless men and women. We call that a win-win!

When: Nov. 23 at 8:30 a.m.
Freedom Plaza
Corner of 13th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Arlington Turkey Trot 5k Fun Run / Walk
If your flock is ready to take flight – but still have fun – then Arlington’s Turkey Trot should be your cup of stuffing. Families, dogs, strollers, kids, parents, singles and couples all turn out for a spin around Lyon Park and Ashton Heights. Want to get creative? Dress your little guy up like a jake – or gal up like a jenny – and parade around in costume! Get into the Christmas spirit by racing with Santa and his elves. Or don the race t-shirt and zip through the streets to battle each member of your flock! However you choose to race, all the proceeds, good vibes and positive energy are a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday!

When: Nov. 23 at 8 a.m.
Christ Church of Arlington
3020 N Pershing Dr. (Arlington, Va)
Online: arlingtonvaturkeytrot.org

Winter Festival of Lights Trot for a Turkey
Families looking to help others before the big day can join the Winter Festival of Lights Trot for a Turkey. Each registration provides a needy family with a holiday turkey so others can gobble gobble on Turkey day too. Kiddos and their parents can walk – or run – through a wonderland of lights and holiday décor. At 3.1 miles, it’s the perfect outing to ensure a tuckered-out turkey for bed time, and guarantees enough time to talk about what your family is truly thankful for this holiday season.

When: Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.
301 Watkins Park Dr. (Upper Marlboro, Md)
Online: mncppc.org/calendar

Strut Your Stuffing 5k Turkey Trot
For those little gobblers who can’t stop talking about Halloween – how many weeks ago was that? This trot is the perfect anecdote. Not only do you raise money for hungry families, but the race takes place in costume so your jake and jenny can get an extra wear out of their Spiderman and Cleopatra costumes. It’s the perfect place to strut around and shake your tail feathers! Costumes, helping hands, and turkey dinner? Race you to the finish line!

When: Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.
355 W. Dares Beach Rd. (Prince Frederick, Md)
Online: projectecho.net/turkey-trot/

Have you ever participated in a turkey trot with your family? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.

—Hilary Riedemann