Family Adventures: Run a 5K on Turkey Day

Three-hundred. While there will be variances for specific recipes or extra whipped cream, that’s the number of calories in an average piece of pumpkin pie.

In that magical way that numbers in nature often match up — figuring that the average human burns about 100 calories per mile, whether you run or walk — 300 is also just about the number of calories burned by participating in a 5K race.

Coincidence? No way. What this amazing numerological alignment means is that Thanksgiving morning is the perfect time to tug yourself out of bed before the Macy’s parade starts and find a local 5K to run.

Whether you’re so into running that you’re comfortable debating the merits of barefoot vs. stability shoes or you just like to take walks around the neighborhood, participating in a Thanksgiving Day 5K is family tradition that’s good for more than just an extra slice of pie.


Meryl Carver-Allmond and Sweet Husband run a 5K on Thanksgiving.

While you should, of course, get specific information about any race you’re planning to run, in general Thanksgiving 5Ks are informal, fun gatherings for people who just want to enjoy a few miles in the great outdoors before settling in for the family feast. The weather is usually perfect, they’re often stroller friendly and no one will think less of you if you want to walk instead of run.

Also, day-of registration is normally allowed — nothing beats that for easy — and the proceeds usually go to a charity. It’s a workout and a Thanksgiving good deed.

Lastly, these races have become so popular that, with a little research, no matter where you’re planning to celebrate the holiday, you can usually find a “turkey” 5K somewhere nearby.

Sweet Husband and I are almost never in town for Thanksgiving, so we’ve made it a tradition to run a trail 5K in our hometown, Pittsburg, Kan. As the Kid gets older, he can join us if he wants to, but for now he enjoys a special breakfast with his grandparents, instead.

Meanwhile, we enjoy a jog through the woods, often with a quick coffee date after if the local Starbucks is open. In the spirit of all that’s best about the holiday, getting out for just that quick hour or two always makes me thankful — for my strong legs and lungs, for the time with my husband, and, yes, even for that extra piece of pie later that day.

If you’re inclined to start your own Thanksgiving 5K tradition, here are a few Lawrence and Kansas City races to consider.

Run Lawrence Turkey Day 5K

Start: 8:30 a.m. at Woodlawn School, 508 Elm St., Lawrence

Registration: $26 through Nov. 20; $30 from Nov. 21 until race day. Stroller-friendly.

Charity: Woodlawn School and other local youth running programs.


Thanksgiving Day 5K Run and Family Stroll

Start: 9 a.m. from the Sprint Campus, near the crossroads of Sprint Parkway and 117th Street, Overland Park

Registration: $28 through Nov. 23; $35 from Nov. 24 until race day. Early registration is recommended to avoid long lines. Strollers are allowed for walkers only.

Charity: The Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation and WIN for KC


Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K Run and Walk

Start: 9 a.m. from 85th Street and Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.

Registration: $30 through Nov. 25; $35 on race day. Strollers are allowed for walkers only.

Charity: Harvesters Community Food Network


Hyde Park Pilgrim Run

Start: 9 a.m. from Pilgrim Chapel, 3801 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Mo.

Registration: $30 through Nov. 26; $35 on race day. Strollers are allowed for walkers only.

Charity: Pilgrim Center children’s programs.


Happy running and happy Thanksgiving!

— Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in Lawrence and writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at


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