Back to articles

Burn the Bulge: Portland Area Turkey Trots

Health and Wellness, Fitness, General, Community Wellbeing

The giant tree has arrived in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Hundreds of turkeys are filling the freezers at grocery stores all over the Portland metro area. Your own kitchen may be filling with ingredients for stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie. And your DVR should be set to record "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (hint: Sunday, Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m. on OPB).

These are all sure signs Thanksgiving is upon us — the season for family, fun and, yes, feasting. Unfortunately, it can also be a day of Tums, stretch pants and morning-after despair.

Our Thanksgiving festivities are so rich, the average American manages to consume more than 4,500 calories during the feasting. While some traditional dishes can be adjusted to make them more waistband-friendly, the reality is you'll still probably take in more calories than you need.

One way to combine holiday fun with a way to work off some of that pumpkin pie is to join one of the many "turkey trot" fun runs happening around the Portland/Vancouver metro area this week. These festive events range from tougher trail runs to costumed family run/walks.

Portland/Vancouver Area Turkey Trots

Give N’ Gobble Virtual 5K and 10K

Nov. 20–Dec. 1, 2021

The running and walking may be virtual, but the benefit is real. Race fees and donations support the Helping Hands Food Bank. The event includes options for families to register together, plus there are discounts for kids who participate. You get to pick when you complete your own 5K or 10K, then you log your results. Details are available online.

Portland International Raceway 5K Run/Walk

Nov. 24, 2021, 6:30 (kid’s run) and 7 p.m. (5K)

To kick off the fun, gather up the family or some friends and head to Portland International Raceway the evening before Thanksgiving for a chance to enjoy a couple laps around a track festooned in Christmas lights for the annual Winter Wonderland. There's even a special trot for kids. Learn more and get registered.

Oregon Zoo Turkey Trot, Tot Trot and Diaper Dash

Nov. 25, 2021, 7:30 a.m. (adults) and 9:30 a.m. (kids and tots)

Runners and walkers of all ages flock to Washington Park for the annual Turkey Trot at the Oregon Zoo. The trot includes a 4-mile run/walk and smaller event for your tiniest runner. Entry fees support the Oregon Zoo. Register through the Oregon Road Runners Club.

Clark County Turkey Trot

Nov. 25, 2021, 8 a.m.

This 20-year tradition is spreading out over five sites in southwest Washington in order to promote social distancing. There’s even a virtual option for people who prefer to walk or run their 5K/10K on their own. All the proceeds go to the Clark County Food Bank. Pick your location and get registered online.

Build your own Thanksgiving trot

Can't find the perfect option or prefer to trot for free on your own schedule? Just gather your friends and family for your own walk, run or climb. This way you can choose if you want to start your Thanksgiving with some exercise or if you prefer to get outside on Black Friday for something more active than waiting in line at Best Buy.

A solid option is to take a loop around your neighborhood. If you want to make a memorable gathering in a more natural space, try one of these favorite spots around the Portland/Vancouver area:

Mount Talbert: This nature park nestled in suburban Clackamas features several trails through live oaks and bountiful ferns. Important note: No dogs are allowed on these trails, so leave Fido at home for this one.

Powell Butte: This east county favorite includes numerous trails through trees and meadows and around an extinct volcano. You and your dog can enjoy beautiful views of surrounding mountains if the weather happens to be clear this week. Note: Mountain bikes are welcome here too!

Eastbank Esplanade: With its perfect views of downtown Portland, this urban walk way runs 1.5 miles along the Willamette River. It connects to river crossings at the Burnside and Steel bridges to the north and the Hawthorn and Tilikum Crossing bridges to the south so you can extend your route to Waterfront Park and make a loop if you prefer.

Waterfront Renaissance Trail: Vancouver is home to a paved 5-mile pathway along the north side of the Columbia River. The trail leads past public art and connects to downtown shops and restaurants.

And don’t forget the longstanding tradition of a fun backyard football game before or after your feast.

A day for gratitude

Whichever way you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, remember to inventory the blessings in your life. A habit of gratitude this week and all year long will do wonders for your spiritual, mental and, yes, physical health.

From all of us at Adventist Health Portland, have a truly happy Thanksgiving.