If you’re looking for a way to burn off holiday calories, check out Springfield’s 27th Annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk.

Trimming your waistline is plenty of incentive to sign up and there are many other reasons to participate. Here are a few.

The Turkey Trot is a fun holiday tradition you can do with family and friends. The event is usually a group activity in downtown Springfield on Thanksgiving Day, but due to the pandemic, participants this year can do the 5k Nov. 25-28 at any location.

Gather the gang to hike your favorite trail, walk through your neighborhood picking up trash along the way or walk solo while talking on the phone with a friend who is hundreds of miles away. Your options are endless!

Turkey TrotSusan and her grandson Xavier

My 7-year-old grandson, Xavier, was my sidekick for this year’s event (done early for this blog post). He was a natural choice for the trek. As I can attest from various excursions with him, his nonstop conversation and observations are entertaining and he was eager to wear the turkey attire I selected for our walk.

That’s right. Along with choosing where to do the Turkey Trot and with whom, you get to choose fun event attire. Start with the long-sleeved T-shirt that comes with your registration, then, to show off that you’re doing the Turkey Trot, fowl-themed accessories are recommended. 

We decorated our wagon with a real turkey tail, topped our heads with brightly colored turkey hats and tucked our pants into our turkey socks to resemble bird legs as we strutted along. 

We looked silly - and so will you! - but looking ridiculous is ok when it’s for a good cause. In this case, it’s for three good causes! 

  • Nonperishable food items for Ozarks Food Harvest are collected at the packet pickup location;

  • Developmental Center of the Ozarks, a program for people with disabilities, receives part of the proceeds; and 

  • Proceeds go to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board Youth Recreation Scholarship Fund, which helps pay for kids to participate in parks activities. 

Those kids’ activities are often outdoors and I hope you can do your Turkey Trot outside. That’s because another reason to do the 5k is to get outside and enjoy nature. 

The South Creek Greenway Trail was our route. We began just east of the footbridge that spans Kansas Expressway and walked west to Nathanael Greene Park where we circled Drummond Lake before heading home. Along the way, we saw flowers, fall foliage, horses, ducks and other beautiful sights. 

We may not have noticed those things had we been racing to complete the event, and that leads us to another reason to do the Turkey Trot. You can do the 5k at your own pace.

I walked at a brisk, but not strenuous, pace while pulling a wagon loaded with 55-pound Xavier, who asked for a ride after walking just a few yards. (You can picture me rolling my eyes at this.) Even though we often paused to observe things we saw along the way, we completed the Turkey Trot in about an hour. 

Those are just a few reasons to do the 2021 Turkey Trot and I’m sure there are many more. I hope you can make it a memorable and fun part of your holiday this year, too.