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Amelia Nielson-Stowell
Writer Amelia Nielson-Stowell stands with her family after Draper's Human Race. Thanksgiving Day races can be a fun and healthy way to kick-off the holidays.

Make room on Thanksgiving Day for the turkey … and the stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Local Thanksgiving Day races are a healthy way to start off the traditional unhealthy holiday season of Thanksgiving gorging, Christmas sweets and New Year's cocktails.

The best way to fight the festive feasting pounds, ward off holiday stress and start off New Year's resolutions right is with a Turkey Day fun run.

Indicative of the sport's popularity, there are dozens of turkey trots in the Beehive State in the month of November. Many have expanded into more than a 5-K Thanksgiving morning. All over Utah, you'll find triathlons, 10-Ks and even 1-mile runs and walks. Awards for the top finishers are often turkeys and pies.

Thanks to Utah's infamous weather patterns, you can expect snow, rain, wind or sun — but always crowds of runners. Even last year's local Thanksgiving Day runs — which kicked off in 2-degree weather in northern Utah — hosted hundreds of anxious runners.

A rundown of Utah's Thanksgiving races:

SHAC Turkey Triathlon, Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m., Sand Hollow Aquatic Center, 1144 N. Lava Flow Dr., St. George. Adult beginner (swim 200 yards, bike 5 miles, run 1.5 miles), adult sprint (swim 400 yards, bike 10 miles, run 3 miles) and kids' triathlons; $35 for adults, $15 for kids, $65 for team relay (435) 627-4560, sgcity.org/recreation/adultsports.

Davis Gobbler Gallop, Saturday, Nov. 12, 8:30 a.m., Davis Applied Technology College, 550 E. 300 South, Kaysville, 10-K and 5-K run, 5-K walk; $35 (801) 593-2310, davisgobblergallop.com.

Park City Girls Basketball Turkey Trot, Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m., Park City High School/Park Meadows, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City 5-K fundraiser for Park City High School girls basketball team; $20 pre-registration, $25 in-person. Search for race on active.com.

St. George Turkey Trot, Saturday, Nov. 19, 9:30 a.m., Seegmiller Historical Farm, 2450 S. 3000 East, St. George, untimed 1-mile walk and 5-K fun run, raises money for Dixie Care and Share; $5 and three canned goods, aaron.metler@sgcity.org, sgcity.org/recreation/adultsports.

Brigham City Turkey Trot, Saturday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m., 600 E. 200 North, Brigham City, 4-mile adult race, 2-mile loop for ages 13 and under; $7, registration day of race only (435) 770-2399, goldenspiketrackclub.com/turkeytrot.

Spectrum Academy Turkey Trot, Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. Spectrum Academy, 665 N. Cutler Drive, North Salt Lake, adult and child 5-K and 1 mile run, benefiting Spectrum Academy; $15 adult 5-K, $10 child 5-K, $10 adult 1-mile, $5 child 1-mile, (801) 936-0318, search for race on active.com.

Turkey Trot Fun Run, Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. 315 E. 600 South, Smithfield, 10-K, 5-K and 1-mile fun run; $15 (435) 563-0048, smithfieldrecreation.com.

Kamas Turkey Trot, Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. South Summit Aquatic & Fitness Center, 350 E. 200 South, Kamas, 5-K run, 1-mile run, 1-mile walk. Donation of at least $5 in canned goods, (435) 783-2423, www.ssafc.org.

Bingham Run Over Hunger, Saturday, Nov. 19, 8 a.m., Skye Park, 9700 S. 4800 West, South Jordan, 5-K fundraiser for Bingham girls softball team. Participants are encouraged to bring canned goods for the Utah Food Bank; $15 pre-registration, $20 day of registration, (801) 864-7940, jamiem181@gmail.com.

Millcreek Cold Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m., Olympus Hills Shopping Center, Salt Lake City, 5-K run/walk benefiting the Road Home; runners encouraged to bring donations, $25 pre-registration; $30 after Nov. 19, (801) 583-6281, sports-am.com/events.

City Creek Cold Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m., Capitol Hill, Salt Lake City, 6-K run/walk benefiting the Road Home; runners encouraged to bring donations, $25 pre-registration; $30 after Nov. 19, (801) 583-6281, sports-am.com/events.

Earn Your Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m., Orem Rec Center, 580 W. 165 South, Orem, 4-mile run, 2-mile walk; kids races $11-$27, depending on age, date of registration and T-shirt option; $30-$40 race day registration, (801) 223-7010, srcevents.com/thanksgiving.

Utah Human Race, Thursday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m., Draper Spectrum, 12101 S. Factory Outlet Drive, Draper, 5-K and 10-K run/walk, benefiting the Utah Food Bank, $15-30, depending on registration date and group discounts, utahfoodbank.org/utah-human-race-info.

Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving Day 5-K, Thursday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m., Cottonwood Heights Rec Center, 7500 S. 2700 East, Cottonwood Heights, 5-K walk/run, adults $20, kids under 11 $15, depending on age and registration date, (801) 943-3190, runcottonwoodheights.com.

Thanksgiving Day Race, Thursday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m., South Davis Rec Center, 550 N. 200 West, Bountiful, Turkey 10-K, Family 5-K and Gobbler 1-K runs; 10-K $30, 5-K $25, 1-K $12; save up to $3 for each can of food, (801) 298-6220, southdavisrecreation.com.

Turkey Leg, Thursday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m., Heritage Park, 1591 N. 1075 West, Farmington, 5-K and kids 1-K; donations encouraged to Family Connection Center; 5-K $20; 1-K $10, (801) 363-3577, fatpackracing.com.

Fleet Feet Turkey Trot, Thursday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m., Fleet Feet Sports, 368 N. 750 West, American Fork, 5-K and kids dash $16-30, depending on date of registration and T-shirt option, (801) 756-5800, fleetfeetamerfork.com.

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Thanksgiving Run/Walk, Thursday, Nov. 24, 8:15 a.m., Ogden Regional Medical Center, 5475 Adams Ave. Pkwy., Ogden, 5-mile run or 2-mile walk, with a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated at 7:15 a.m. in the Education Center; donations of non-perishable goods or monetary contributions, (801) 479-2255, ogdenregional.com.

Toquerville Trails Turkey Trot, Thursday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m., City Park, 230 West Center St., Toquerville, 3- or 1.7-mile trail runs, $15-$25, depending on date of registration, (435) 229-8064, toquerville.org.

Amelia Nielson-Stowell is a writer, editor and photographer. She lives and runs in Salt Lake City.