Holiday races burn calories, unite families


BYU students can both burn calories and spend more time with loved ones by participating in any of these six Thanksgiving-themed races in Utah.

1. Utah Human Race

Draper Spectrum (Outlet Mall)
12101 S. State St.
Draper, UT 84020

The 11th annual Utah Human Race is sponsored by the Utah Food Bank and all proceeds directly benefit the Utah Food Bank, according to the website.

The goal is to “run with an attitude of gratitude” on Thanksgiving morning at 7:30 a.m. in Draper. Participants can run in a 5K or a 10Kaccording to the organization’s website.

Utah Human Race communications specialist Heidi Cannella said the event helps distribute food to 423,000 Utahns who have a lack of food.

Runners compete in the Utah Human Race last year. (Name here)
Runners compete in the Utah Human Race last year. Proceeds from the run benefit the Utah Food Bank. (Utah Food Bank)

“On top of that, it’s a fun family tradition and a great way to begin a day of plenty by giving back,” Cannella said. “We usually see approximately 6,000 runners of all ages and abilities. It’s a family-friendly 5K and 10K and costumes are highly encouraged.”

BYU exercise science senior Kaelani Baker said she likes doing runs with personal meaning or significance in the community.

“If you’re going to pay to run, you should do it at a run that donates to a charity or local need,” Baker said. “I am not a runner by any means, but I think a 5K is short enough to be fun.”

Baker also said she feels better about eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal if she exercised the morning of.

Kaelani Baker (middle) completes a Thanksgiving run with her parents (right) and her sister (left) in 2015. (Kaelani Baker)
Kaelani Baker, middle, after completing a Thanksgiving run with her parents, on right, and her sister, on left, in 2015. (Kaelani Baker)

“It’s all about calories in, calories out. I think that people have a tendency to view Thanksgiving as a day of sitting on the couch and not doing anything, and that doesn’t make you feel good and ready to eat a large meal,” Baker said. “Nothing gives you an appetite like running 3 miles.”

2. The Thankful 13

2301 Ashton Blvd.
Lehi, UT 84043

The Thankful 13 is a half-marathon race hosted by Runtastic Events. The run takes place along the Jordan River Parkway Trail on Thanksgiving at 8 a.m. All participants receive a shirt, pumpkin pie, rolls and hot chocolate at the finish line. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Now I Can foundation.

The Thankful 13 is a half-marathon race held in South Jordan on Thanksgiving morning. (Tricia Warnock)

Race director Tricia Warnock said the race focuses specifically on expressing gratitude. Participants complete a section on the registration form asking what they are grateful for. These sentiments of gratitude are then posted at various points along the race.

Warnock said she hopes the race will make a positive impact on the community.

“The month of November — and Thanksgiving in particular — really brings about an awareness of gratitude for various things in our lives, including being healthy, being able to run and having good health,” Warnock said. “We hope that people can take a minute to be grateful for having a strong, healthy body and living in a beautiful community.”

3. ‘Earn Your Turkey’ Thanksgiving Run

580 W. 165 South
Orem, UT 84058

This run is on Thanksgiving day at 8 a.m. in Orem. It features three race options: 4 miles, 2 miles or a kids’ race.

Walkers and runners receive a T-shirt, post-race food and the chance to win turkeys and pies. Proceeds from each entry will be donated to the Food and Care Coalition of Utah, a nonprofit organization helping homeless people in Utah Valley.

4. The Pilgrim 5K

3900 N. Garden Dr.
Lehi, UT 84043

The Pilgrim 5K includes a pilgrim costume and iconic pilgrim scenes to lead participants along the course on Thanksgiving. The race starts at 8 a.m. at the Ashton Gardens. All participants have their own finishing moment at Plymouth Rock, which is then concluded by feasting on pumpkin bars and apple cider.

5. Cold Turkey Run

3536 Jupiter Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84124

The Cold Turkey run takes place at Millcreek or City Creek in Salt Lake City at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving. The Millcreek race is a 5K and the City Creek race is a 6K. The race has multiple divisions, including running, walking, baby strollers and a kids’ 1K.

6. Ugly Sweater Dash 5k

5415 W. 3100 South
West Valley City, UT 84120

The Ugly Sweater Dash 5k is being called “the ugliest 5k of your life.” The race is on Nov. 19 at 8 a.m. in West Valley City. Entry fees vary by age and include a donated, non-perishable food item.

The participant with the ugliest sweater wins a prize.

BYU Spanish junior Michael Larson has done two Thanksgiving runs with his family.

“They’re super fun and it’s a tradition with my family. It’s perfect weather this time of year,” Larson said. “I make jokes about the fact that I can eat more, but it’s only a 5K so I don’t actually believe it. I eat about the same as I would if I hadn’t run.”


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