Does your Thanksgiving tradition include turkey, pumpkin pie, football and a post-dinner snooze? Maybe it’s time for a new tradition that’s fun for the whole family.

Before even lifting a fork, thousands of people across the country will start their holiday with a 5K run on the most popular running day in the country. Turkey Day Runs are held in Minneapolis, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix and Boise.

The 27th annual Delta Dental Turkey Day Run Minneapolis kicks off at 8 a.m. on November 24th near Life Time Fitness Target Center. The scenic course takes participants through the streets of downtown Minneapolis—past City Hall, U.S. Bank Stadium, the Guthrie Theater, Gold Medal Park and along the Mississippi River.

Since 1989, the Turkey Day Run has brought runners, joggers and walkers of all ages together on the 3.1 mile course. Whether the temperatures have been in the high 50s or minus three degrees, thousands of participants turn out each year. It’s become an annual tradition for many families who want to start the holiday in a healthy way and warm up Thanksgiving appetites.

Life Time will again be filling the pantries of Second Harvest Heartland, one the largest food banks in the country. Participants are asked to bring as many non-perishable food items as they can carry to the giant Turkey Day collection bins. Last year, more than $16,000 and over 15,000 pounds of food was donated, which provided nearly 62,000 meals throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. This year’s goal is $20,000 and 20,000 pounds of food.

The Turkey Day Run is for participants of all ages. You can register online before race morning, or at one of the nine partner retail locations until November 20th. Information is available at Even on race day, you can register between 6 -7:30 a.m. at the Target Center. If you’re a Life Time Fitness member, you’ll get a $5 discount. Registrants will receive a limited edition long sleeve race T-shirt, complimentary race photos, post-race food and hot beverages, the Finish Festival and Kids Care.

According to Jessie Mosier, Volunteer Manager & Marketing Coordinator at Life Time, Kids Care for three to eight-year-olds features fun fitness activities, games, plus their own indoor Turkey Day Kids K. Each child will also receive a Turkey Day Run T-shirt and snacks. Kids Care runs from 7 – 10 Life Time Fitness Target Center. At least one parent must be registered in the Turkey Day Run Minneapolis.

On race day, there’s food and fun for the whole family starting with a Family Carnival at the Butler Square parking lot. Food and drink specials are offered at Cowboy Jack’s and food and hot beverages are available at the Target Center garage. The first wave of 5K runners starts at 8 a.m. Additional waves will start at 5 minute intervals with the 5K walkers and strollers in the last wave. Volunteers are needed in a variety of capacities and will receive a commemorative volunteer T-shirt.

The top 10 males and females to cross the finish line receive a pumpkin pie. There’s also a goofy award. Participants can BOYT (bring your own frozen turkey) and carry it throughout the race. The first one crossing the finish line still carrying their turkey wins a $50 gift card to Cowboy Jack’s.

Experts say light cardio is one of the best remedies for pre-holiday partying hangovers. But the most obvious draw for an early morning Turkey Day Run is to feel guilt-free about gobbling down later on.


By Judy Kallestad