Are turkey trots a part of your family holiday tradition? They are for my family. I love how the race give us an opportunity to spend time together outside with hundreds of other families. You can just feel the community and memories forming. Whether you’re looking to walk as a family or burn some calories before the big meal, we’ve rounded up several family-friendly turkey trots to race on Thanksgiving Day in the East Bay.
Thanksgiving Day Races, Nov. 23, 2023
Oakland Turkey Trot
This 5k race begins at the Lake Merritt Pergola and follows the path around the lake. Kids 12 and under can register as Youth 5k entrants, and children ages 2-8 can join the Run for Wildlife (200 yards). Participants receive a t-shirt, and finisher medal, and can enjoy live music at the finish line festival. Parents cheering from the sidelines can entertain kids at these Grand-Lake parks or cafes and playground before reuniting with runners at the finish line.
Cost: $19-$89 (depending on age/race)
Race start: 5K at 8:30 am; Run for Wildlife at 9:40 am
Nitro Turkey Trot & Little Turkeys Run (Richmond)
Set in Point Pinole Regional Park, this race has 5K and 10k options for adults, and a Little Turkeys Run (100 yards) for little ones to race against the Nitro Turkey. Kids 10 and younger joining the Little Turkeys Run race receive a special medal. All are invited to bring a non-perishable food donation item and wear a Thanksgiving-themed costume. The Nitro Turkey will be available for photo ops before and after the Little Turkeys Run. Don’t forget to explore the regional park after the race; with train sightings, beach access, and a play structure, there’s lots to see and do.
Cost: $55-$60 (depending on registration date; donation options available); Little Turkeys Run is free with 5k/10k registered adult
Race start: Little Turkeys Run at 8:45 am; 5k and 10k start at 9 am.
Piedmont Turkey Trot
Join the 21st annual Piedmont Turkey Trot by walking or running as a family through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Piedmont. This family-friendly event has a Youth 5k option for kids 12 years and younger. Participants receive a t-shirt. The trot’s start and finish area is located near tot-friendly Piedmont Park and Playground. Runners, walkers, strollers and leashed dogs are all welcome on the 5K course.
Cost: $30-$50 (depending on age and registration date)
Race start: 8:30 am
Moraga Country Club Turkey Trot
Enjoy Thanksgiving morning with a run or walk through Moraga Country Club’s grounds. Choose from a 1.5-mile or 5k race. Families can work up a sweat while helping to raise funds for local food banks.
Cost: $20-$30 (depending on race); Children 1-6 are free with a registered adult, $10 discount for people 65 or older
Race start: 5k at 8:15 am; 1.5 mile at 8:30 am
Concord California Turkey Trot
Run or walk on the 5k course through grass fields, park pathways, and city streets in Concord. Children 8 or younger can join the Kids Run. Rain or shine.
Cost: $5-$40 (depending on age and registration date). $119 for a family four-pack.
Race start: 5K at 8 am; Kids Run at 9:15 am
Tri-Valley Turkey Burn (Pleasanton)
The 8th Annual Tri-Valley Turkey Burn invites participants to run, walk, or stroll on the 5k/10k course. Family- and dog-friendly, registrants can decorate their running bib, and all finishers receive a medal and snacks.
Cost: $15; Free for 9 and under
Race start: 9 am
Plan for a turkey trot like a champ!
A turkey trot is often a child’s (or adult’s) first introduction to a road race. Keep these tips in mind to make the race special and not stressful:
- Have fun! All ages and abilities can participate. Turkey trots are incredibly inclusive and require zero training. Strollers are often allowed if your little one can’t walk or easily tires (check your race’s rules in advance). Enjoy your time as a family.
- They can be expensive. Turkey trot races often serve as fundraising events for communities or organizations. Registration costs can increase as the race date nears, so reserve your space in advance and know your fees are being put toward a good cause.
- Have a parking plan. Parking can be challenging for these events. You’ll likely need to park in the neighborhood and walk to the start line. Look into your race’s parking details before race day so you don’t arrive after the starting clock begins.
- Pack light. You’ll likely need to run or walk with any belongings you bring to the start line (keys, water bottles, etc.). Consider using a running backpack or belt on the course.
- Remember your registration packet. Many races have entrants pick up their registration pack a day or two before the race. Some races will allow race day packet pick-up. A race packet will typically contain a running bib and safety pins. Pin the bib to your clothes on race day so race officiants know you’re part of the turkey trot.
- Dress in layers. Races often start early in the morning when the weather is brisk. As you run or walk, your body may heat up and you’ll be thankful for those lighter layers.
- Hydrate. While some races have hydration stops, it’s wise to bring a water bottle for each participant. Any runner will tell you that hydration is critical—regardless of distance or skill level.
- Be a good sport. Whether you’re in the race or on the sideline, cheer for other runners and walkers. Everyone is there to have fun and be healthy—celebrate others!