Prior to sitting at the table and indulging in an extravagant meal, it has become a tradition in many communities to partake in the annual Thanksgiving 5K. Perhaps you have to earn your forthcoming calorie intake! The Thanksgiving Turkey Trot race is also where you find four extraordinary kinds of people who enter this road race for very different purposes.

To take an overarching look at this holiday, Thanksgiving offers a coming home of all sorts. College students return to their stomping grounds to showcase how cool they have gotten in a matter of weeks. The person who you once knew as the quietest person in the room, is now a candidate for the loudest. Then, you have those who partied a bit too much the night before, and have no business running down the block, much less in a “race.” In fact, they may not even remember they were in just a few short hours. Let’s not forget those that also believe the Turkey Trot is a performance stage. Whether it’s to flex your running skills or outfit skills, clearly this race is for all eyes to be on you.

On Your Mark, Get Set… Hold On

Yes, much of this feature is tongue-in-cheek. However, most of these Thanksgiving 5k races take place within a tight-knit neighborly community. Furthermore, in the spirit of giving, often they benefit a great cause. For example, it can be a local non-profit, or as a benefit in the honor of a local hero. Still many participants show up to have a fun time. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. Yet, let’s not lose sight of the hard work organizers put forth in an effort to achieve a goal. Ultimately, that is to impact something near-and-dear to your area.

In no particular order, here are the four types of people you will run, bump, stumble into, or hide from at this year’s Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.

  • The Costume Runner

    Here is the spectacle runner, who is decked out in a giant turkey costume. They can’t breathe let alone run, but they certainly can waddle. If this person finishes actually runs and finishes the race, it is usually by Christmas time. Nonetheless, you must respect the fact that lots of thought and deliberation went into this decision. It may even take longer for the person to get properly fitted in the morning to get ready for the trot than it does for the actual turkey to cook.

    A man dressed in a turkey costume

    Leon Halip/Getty Images

  • The I Need To Win And Beat The Best Time Ever Runner

    With all due respect, this runner is there an hour early stretching, even though they already completely stretched at home prior to eating a full protein breakfast. This participant is fully rested, fully hydrated, and plans to smoke you like you are the turkey. Furthermore, while you are trucking through the first mile, gasping for breath, this runner is going to pass, but going the other direction. That is because this person finished the race already and is simply running back to the starting line as their “cool down.” We get it, your cross-country skills are superhuman, and you now own the Turkey Trot best time. Just don’t be the person that beats the day’s honoree.

    Runner cheering on track

    Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

  • The Still Awake From Last Night "Runner"

    It’s common knowledge that the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest party nights on the planet. It’s a special occasion where people come out of the woodwork and return to their hometown. The local pubs may make their annual quota based on Thanksgiving Eve sales. It’s great fun for sure, as long you have a responsible ride home. For some though, they have not even been home yet. It’s much more convenient to walk two blocks to the left to the downtown starting line at sunrise than it is to trek a half of a mile down Main Street to sleep it off for a few hours. This person looks and smells like the party. If there are woods adjacent to the 5k running route, you will usually find this runner in there immediately.
    A group of friends are lifting their male tipsy friend at the rooftop night outdoor party.

  • The Socialite Runner

    Many towns that host Thanksgiving races are deep with tradition and local history. The families that call this place home often go back generations. Somehow, your grandmother had the same 4th grade teacher that your daughter currently has. The socialite is there to talk to everyone. They are in full-blown campaign mode, yet they are not running for anything. They simply love everything that has to do with their hometown and their mission for Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, is to see literally everyone, and spread some spirit. You have to respect that.

    Thanksgiving Turkey makes its way during the 81st annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

    Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images

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