Approximately 1,000,000 people in the U.S. will run in a turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning this year. From Point Arena, California to West Quoddy Head, Maine, in Alaska and Hawaii too—the tough will get out of bed, shake off that hangover and trot for a good cause.

Turkey trots benefit both local charities and the runners—a morning calorie burn is a good idea in advance of the year’s largest feast. And that second and third plate will taste a lot better when they’re earned.

Turkey trots are like NASCAR; if you try it once, you’ll be hooked for life. Early registration is recommended everywhere—most of the best trots fill-up early. Commit now and make it happen—you will be glad you did. Here are some of America’s best trots.

Dana Point Turkey Trot | Dana Point, CA
This year the Dana Point Turkey Trot celebrates its 40th anniversary. Dana Point is a true tweener—it’s 60 miles south of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. Of all the trots, the Dana Point edition wins on best website address:

The flat course offers a 10K, 5K and Kids Gobble Wobble—participants receive a shirt and medal. And for those that don’t want to run, but want the t-shirt, there is a $32 “Virtual Runner” option. “Wear your race shirt proudly, we won’t judge.”

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot | Denver, CO
This is good stuff—last year almost 10,000 participants raised more than $400,000 for the United Way to help the underprivileged. “But, it’s Colorado! It will be freezing!” Not really, November highs in the 60s are common for Denver and the snow doesn’t typically stick around very long. Runner's World Magazine said it best, “Running at altitude is a lot more fun when it’s through beautiful environs like Denver’s scenic, tree-lined Washington Park—and toward a beer garden.” Imagine that…beer and a Thanksgiving feast to look forward to. Yasss!

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Atlanta Track Club Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, 5K, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia One Mile and 50 Meter Dash | Atlanta, GA
The longest of all the trots—the half marathoners toe the chalk at 7:30 a.m. This annual event for the Atlanta Track Club helps support training programs and community outreach activities in the Metro Atlanta Area. The club’s staff and volunteers create camaraderie and encourage participation and competition through a calendar of diverse walking and running events. In addition to the half marathon, the Atlanta tradition also includes a 5K, one-mile and a 50-meter dash. Celebrate fitness…then crush a few thousand calories.

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The Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot | Dallas, Texas
Of course, Texas has to have the biggest turkey trot in America as more than 40,000 Texan trotters will jog through Big D. This year is special as they celebrate their 50th anniversary. The event welcomes runners and walkers for 8-mile and 5K events. Perhaps you’ve read about this event in the Guinness World Records as they set the record for "largest gathering of people dressed as turkeys” in 2011. Even if you're not a runner or walker, there are fun activities for the whole family: clowns, pony rides, bounce houses, live musical entertainment and much more.

By supporting this event, you’re supporting the YMCA, which focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. That’s something we can all get behind, right?

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NOAC's 109th Annual Turkey Day Race | New Orleans, LA
This race has been happening for 109 years—that’s amazing. It is open to all runners and walkers, NOTC members, NOAC members and nonmembers too; come one, come all. The trot benefits Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans, a non-profit organization that provides support to those born with Spina Bifida in Louisiana.

The race finishes inside of Tad Gormley Stadium, which is about a 5K from the French Quarter. And this is Louisiana, there will be a cold beer waiting at the finish line. “I garontee.”

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Give thanks, help others, have a few beers after the jog and wear your medal the entire day—wear it until Christmas. You’re a champion. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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