Guide to Turkey Trots in Phoenix: Walks, Runs, and Marathons

Phoenix Turkey Trot
Courtesy of The Phoenix Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving Day in a typical household, the schedule revolves around eating (a lot), watching football or holiday movies on television, and relaxing with family and friends. In Phoenix, you can also start the Thanksgiving holiday by doing something healthy and fun instead by attending one of several turkey trots, marathons, or fitness events.

While some people want a challenge like climbing Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain in central Phoenix or South Mountain in south Phoenix—which will both be busy over the holiday weekend—others opt for something flatter and easier. Turkey trots, which are walking or running events that take place on Thanksgiving, are a great way to enjoy the typically moderate weather in Phoenix while getting a little exercise, too.

On Thanksgiving Day in 2018, you can attend turkey trots in Peoria, Mesa, Gilbert, Laveen, Fountain Hills, Anthem, and Phoenix.

Fountain Hills Turkey Trot

Located northeast of Phoenix, the community of Fountain Hills hosts a variety of marathons and charity walks throughout the year. On Thanksgiving Day, more than 1,500 people participate in its annual turkey trot event, which features both a five-kilometer run and a one-mile fitness walk.

The 28th Annual Fountain Hills Turkey Trot will start on Avenue of the Fountains in front of Town Hall at 7:15 a.m. and will be followed by an awards ceremony at 8:15. Awards will be given for first, second, and third place finishers of the 5K in each age category (increments of 10 years). Guests can stay after the awards ceremony to watch the Chamber of Commerce's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which begins at 9 a.m. 

Registration is required to participate in the Fountain Hills Turkey Trot. Early registration is open until November 15, 2018, but you can also register on the morning of the race from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m.

Mesa Turkey Trot

The Mesa Turkey Trot is one of the Phoenix area's oldest running events and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on Thanksgiving Day in 2018. Sponsored by the Sertoma Club of Mesa, this annual event features timed five- and 10-kilometer runs and a timed, non-competitive one-mile run/walk.

All runs take place on a flat and fast course at Red Mountain Park in Mesa, The 50th Annual Mesa Turkey Trot starts off with race day registration and event packet pickup from 7 to 8 a.m. The one-mile fun run starts at 8, the 5K starts at 8:10, and the 10K run starts at 9 a.m. Awards will be given for the first three finishers (for both males and females) in eight different age groups, determined by each participant's ChronoTrack time. Strollers are allowed in all runs.

The Mesa Turkey Trot takes place on a flat and fast course at Red Mountain Park in Mesa, the races all start on Sun Valley Boulevard, and event parking can be found behind Red Mountain High School off Brown Road. Proceeds from the event contributed to non-profit organizations in the East Valley and across Arizona, primarily benefiting the disabled and underprivileged citizens of the community.

Phoenix Turkey Trot

The annual Phoenix Turkey Trot features several running and walking events in downtown Phoenix at Wesley Bolin Plaza on Thanksgiving Day, starting with event registration and packet pickup from 6 to 7:30 a.m. on November 22, 2018. Along with five and 10-kilometer runs, the Turkey Trot also feature a one-mile fun run/walk and a turkey tot trot for toddlers.

There will also be pumpkin pie and cranberry aid stations along the course, and food and hot drinks will be available for participants and their families after the race. Along with awards for each age group in the 5K and 10K runs, the Phoenix Turkey Trot also features a costume contest for the best turkey outfit, most creative costume, best-dressed family, best-dressed couple, and best-dressed team.

Registration is required to participate, but registered participants will receive a limited edition long-sleeve race shirt, post-race food and beverages, access to the Finish Festival, free photos with the mascot Turkey Tom, and a finisher medal for all distances. Advanced registration is recommended to ensure access to these special perks.

Arizona Road Racers Thanksgiving Day Classic

In northeastern Phoenix, the community of Peoria hosts an annual turkey trot event on Thanksgiving each year that features 10-mile, five-kilometer, and one-mile running and walking races that all start at the Peoria Sports Complex.

On Thanksgiving Day 2018, the Arizona Road Racers Thanksgiving Day Classic returns to Peoria starting at 6:30 a.m. for event registration and packet pickup. The 10-mile run starts at 8, the 5K starts at 8:10, and the one-mile fun run starts at 8:30 a.m. The top three winners in each age group get a pie for a prize (appropriate for Thanksgiving Day).

Proceeds from the race benefit the Peoria Diamond Club, which provides support to local chapters of The Salvation Army as well as the Arizona Special Olympics. You can also bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Peoria Diamond Club's toy drive.

Anthem Turkey Trot and Kids' Dash

Nestled between the shadows of Daisy Mountain and Gavilan Peak directly north of Phoenix, the town of Anthem starts off its Thanksgiving celebrations each year with its annual turkey trot celebration featuring a 5K and 10K run as well as a kids' dash.

All races for the Anthem Turkey Trot, presented by Tortoise & Hair Sports, start and end at the Anthem Community Center. The 10K run starts at 8:30, the 5K run starts at 8:40, the awards presentation and raffle takes place at 9:45, and the kids' dash begins at 10 a.m. Event registration opens in late September, with prices increasing twice in November, but will also be available from 6:30 to 8 a.m.

Participants and spectators are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the event for the St. Rose Food Pantry; all participants that donate will be entered into a raffle for prizes provided by local sponsors.

Laveen Turkey Trot and Kids' Dash

Laveen Village, located a few miles southwest of downtown Phoenix, is one of the most health-conscious communities in the Phoenix valley, and each year, the Riverbend Prep Academy and Laveen Community Council co-host a turkey trot and kids' dash for Thanksgiving to raise money for the academy's health and fitness initiatives and programs provided by the community council.

The 12th Annual Laveen Turkey Trot and Kids' Dash will start at 7 a.m. on November 22, 2018, with packet pick-up and late registration at Cesar Chavez High School. At 8 a.m., the event officially kicks off with the start of the 5K race, followed by the start of the one-mile fun run at 8:10, and the start of the free kids' dash (for ages 5 and under) at 8:45. An awards ceremony will immediately follow the races' conclusion.

Participants in the 5K will receive a custom event bib, a custom Dri-Fit tech t-shirt (guaranteed if registered by November 7, 2018), a medal for the top three finishers in each age group, a post-race brunch, and real-time results and photos on a mobile app.