Thanksgiving Day Running Races Continue to See Strong Growth as Turkey Trot Traditions Continue

Scott Bush, Running USA
Running USA
November 15, 2017

Sport sees sixth straight year of more races, more finishers


Thanksgiving Day Running Races - InfographicTROY, Mich. – A holiday known for feasts, naps and football continues to be defined by running, as Thanksgiving Day maintains its top spot as the sport’s most popular day of the year to race, as a record 961,882 runners crossed a finish line in 2016.


Since tracking began in 2011, turkey trot finisher totals have significantly grown year-over-year. From 2015 to 2016, the number of Thanksgiving Day finishers grew 6%, once again eclipsing the 900,000 finisher barrier and coming ever so close to surpassing the magical one million finisher mark.


“While the sport of running is flattening out in some areas, Thanksgiving is a perfect example of the sport’s ability to bring family and friends together to celebrate through fitness and fun,” said Rich Harshbarger, Running USA CEO. “In many respects, well organized turkey trots are the ideal blueprint for our sport to move forward with locally-run races.”


As the number of finishers grows, so to does the number of events hosted. Year-over-year growth of Thanksgiving Day races grew 14%, with 726 organized races taking place in 2016.


In addition, the general geographic reach of the day continues to show Thanksgiving as a national day of running. Of the top ten largest races, nine states are represented, while nine races hosted more than 7,000 finishers in 2016. The Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, in San Jose, California, once again ranked as the day’s largest race with 12,996 finishers.


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About Running USA

Running USA is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the status and experience of distance running and racing in the United States through collective marketing and promotions, information and communications within the industry and to the national media, services to events and industry members, and the development of American world class stars. It seeks the advancement of the sport and the provision of value to each of its members' events and businesses. For more information, visit

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