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The Perfect Family Outing for Thanksgiving at the Arlington Turkey Trot

By S. Mathur

What better way to prepare for the Thanksgiving feast than a 5K run the morning? Since they began in Buffalo NY in 1896, turkey trots have become part of the holiday tradition. And of course, it isn't necessary to run the entire way.

The Arlington Turkey Trot exhorts participants: "Before the parades, before the kick-off, and before the feasting commences, come kick-off a great Thanksgiving Day with a fun race, run, jog, walk, stroll, roll, or even crawl! You may even burn off a few calories!" We don't recommend crawling, by the way.

Now in its sixth year, the Arlington Turkey Trot has already made it to the list of Top 30 Turkey Trots. Arlington Turkey Trot Committee member Emmy Klein thinks its popularity is due to the fact that running is one of the easiest and most rewarding forms of exercise: "I think the health and fitness aspect certainly plays a part in the huge surge we've seen in the popularity of 5Ks and running in general over the past several years. Many people are trying to get in better shape or improve their health. Gyms are often intimidating, personal trainers are expensive, but anyone can lace up a pair of shoes and go for a walk or run."

Turkey trots typically raise money for charities, and the Arlington race is no exception. All proceeds go to The Shoe Bank. Klein explains: "The USMD Arlington Turkey Trot raises money for the locally-based, internationally-known non-profit, The Shoe Bank. The Shoe Bank's mission is to provide quality and comfortable footwear to those in need. It was founded in 1989, and now distributes approximately 25,000 each year to men, women, and children around the world. In the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan Area, shoes are distributed to people in need through homeless shelters, shelters for battered women and their children, refugee service organizations, and hospitals. Worldwide, the Shoe Bank works, not with the largest, but with the most reliable international relief organizations to get shoes safely delivered and distributed to children in those places where the most critical needs exist."

Klein believes that the fundraising also accounts for the popularity of the Turkey Trot. For many people, Thanksgiving is not just a season to give thanks but also to provide tangible help to those who need it: "I think, around the holidays in particular, people are always looking for ways to help and give back. I think one reason is that people began to grow weary of bake sales, car washes, and the same old fundraisers year after year. A 5K for a cause provides a more interactive way to help."

The 5K Turkey Trot is perfect holiday outing for the whole family because it is open to all ages and levels. Klein adds "The entire family can come out, take part, benefit their health, give back to the community, and walk away with a t-shirt. And, most times, get home in time for a nice brunch."

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