Running is a Thanksgiving tradition, but is Oregon over the Turkey Trot trend?

16372671-mmmainTurkey Trots are a strange phenomenon. Every year on Thanksgiving Day, a holiday known for its gluttony and laziness, hundreds of thousands of Americans wake up at the crack of dawn, lace up their running shoes and run.

Regardless of the distance, location or fundraising cause, the races almost always get the same name, a “Turkey Trot,” and are almost always bound to be enormously popular.

According to Running USA, Thanksgiving Day has become the most popular day of the year for running. In 2013, an astonishing 870,000 people ran in a Turkey Trot in America – more than double the figure from 2008, when only 400,000 people ran.

For sense of comparison, the second most popular holiday for running is the Fourth of July, which currently draws around 250,000 people each year. Behind that is New Year’s Day, which draws around 81,000.

Google Trends also backs up this Thanksgiving race boom. Data from searches back to 2004 show a clear upward trend in searches for “turkey trot” in the U.S., primarily among residents in the Midwest. Narrowing it down to Oregon shows a similar rise up to 2012, before a surprisingly sudden and extremely sharp decline.

In 2013, Google searches for “turkey trot” decreased by 64 percent. The numbers for 2014 so far also look to be much lower, and will likely show another sharp fall come Black Friday.

 

But does this trend actually translate to fewer runners on Thanksgiving Day in Oregon? That much isn’t entirely clear.

Of Oregon’s 781 races in 2014, 19 are held on Thanksgiving Day, according to Running USA. It doesn’t sound like much, but since the website doesn’t offer data older than the most recent year, it’s difficult to compare it with previous years in the state.

It’s entirely possible that the Google data decline could be the result of runners finding race information from other sources, like social media or the race websites directly, but the sharp decline in search interest begs the question: Are Oregonians over the Turkey Trot trend?

Wherever your opinion falls on the matter, you can always put in your two cents by registering for a Portland-area Turkey Trot. Here are nine local Thanksgiving Day races for your pre-stuffing satisfaction.

Turkey Trot at the Zoo: Run by the Oregon Road Runners Club, the event features a 5K run and a half-mile “Tot Trot” at the Oregon Zoo.

Tofurky Trot: The Tofurky Trot is Portland’s meat-free alternative to Turkey Trots, run by Tofurky maker Turtle Island Foods, benefitting Northwest Veg.
West Linn Turkey Trot: Registration is already full for the West Linn race, run by the Hood to Coast organizers, held at Mary S. Young Park.

Oregon Turkeython: Held at Bridgeport Village, just outside of Portland, the Oregon Turkeython has a 5K and 10K. Participants are asked to bring toys and other items for kids at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Give ‘n’ Gobble Turkey Trot: Sherwood’s race offers both a 5K and 10K, raising money for the Helping Hands food bank.

ILA Turkey Trot: La Course des Dindons: Held in Lake Oswego at Lakeridge High School, the event features a 5K run/walk and the Dinde Dash for kids, benefitting the Lake Oswego International Leadership Academy.

Mosier Twin Tunnels Turkey Trot: Just west of Hood River is the Twin Tunnels 8K run, a scenic race that benefits the Mosier Community School.

Keizer Turkey Dash 5K: A milder approach to Turkey Trots, the Keizer event is a 5K fun run/walk, held a Keizer Station Village near Salem.
Newport Turkey Trot: The coastal race features a 5K, 10K, 15K and a kids run, with a portion of proceeds going to enrichment programs at Sam Case Elementary School.

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source: Oregon Live by Jamie Hale

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