Each family celebrates Thanksgiving Day differently. Some gather around a TV to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, while others choose to participate in a local turkey trot before sitting down for a meal together. 

Runners and walkers alike are invited to join the Woodinville community for the fifth annual in-person Thanksgiving Turkey Trot starting at Wilmot Park on Thursday, Nov. 25, at 9 a.m. 

“I think people really want to get out with their families,” Woodinville Racing Company owner George McKinnon said. “Thanksgiving is a time when families come together.”

Packet pickup opens the day before the race from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants can also pick up packets on race day at 7:30 a.m.

The Woodinville High School marching band will kick off the event with a parade, McKinnon said, followed by a free 200-yard dash for children ages 6 and under. The 5K will begin shortly after, he added.

He said the course runs along the Sammamish River on the relatively flat Burke-Gilman Trail, which spans across Seattle and Lake Washington for about 50 miles. The trail goes through Woodinville, he said, and Wilmot Gateway Park connects to it.

The race will conclude with an awards ceremony at 10:15 a.m., according to the Woodinville Running Company website.

Like many races across the country, runners took to the course in a virtual manner last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company decided to continue offering a virtual format for the 2021 trot, McKinnon said.

Runners have the option to choose their own 3.1-mile course, McKinnon noted. Afterward, people can submit their finishing time online. 

To further the festive fun, McKinnon said, community members are encouraged to join the 3,000-calorie challenge ahead of race day. In order to participate, people are urged to record the distance they run or walk throughout the month of November and track their progress on the Woodinville Running Company website.

The tradition was formed last year by Liz McKinnon, who co-owns the company. She was curious how many calories are typically consumed during Thanksgiving dinner, she said. She estimated the number would surpass a thousand, she said, which is more than the recommended amount for one meal. 

Going off her idea, the company encourages turkey trot participants to exercise throughout the month in preparation for Thanksgiving, she said. 

“It was really well received, and people could upload their results as they're going along and see how they're doing against other people,” she said.

Several people clocked in dozens of miles, she said, and some runners even ran 200 miles in one month.

As part of the company’s mission, George McKinnon said, 100% of sponsorship dollars and a portion of turkey trot fees will go toward the Woodinville High School booster clubs for both the cross-country and wrestling teams.

The trot continues to grow every year, McKinnon said. Before the pandemic, around 800 participants showed up. To comply with state mandates, the number of attendees will be capped at 450 people this year, he said.

The Woodinville Running Company organizes 5K races across Washington state for nonprofit organizations, he said.

Interested participants can register for the turkey trot at https://runsignup.com/Race/WA/Woodinville/WoodinvilleTurkeyTrot.

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