10 Turkey Trots and Holiday Fun Runs: Festive Foot Races for Boston Families

As the holidays approach each year, three things are always on my list: burn off the extra calories we consume during holiday feasts, find festive and fun activities the whole family will enjoy, and get the kids involved in giving back. I’ve finally figured out how to do all three at the same time: run together in a race.

These local turkey trots, jingle bell runs, and other holiday-themed races are kid-friendly (a few are also dog-friendly), festive, and even downright silly. They’re also for a good cause—so round up the family, sport your most cheerful running attire, and go for it!

Nov 18, 2017

Newton Turkey Trot 5K/Kids Run—Newton
Raising money for Newton Food Pantry, this run winds through the carriage roads of Newton Center and West Newton, and introduces a lot of kids to one of the Boston Marathon's most famed stretches.

Westborough Turkey Trot—Westborough
​This public school fundraiser is a big community draw in the town, and features a 5K hilly loop that's fun for children and challenging for adult runners.

Nov 23, 2017

Family Gratitude Turkey Trot – Dedham
Join Ripples of Hope for the Annual Thanksgiving Day Family Gratitude 5K Turkey Trot in Dedham to benefit The Dedham Food Pantry and Ripples of Hope. Free T-shirts for the first 500 pre-registered runners. Please bring a bag of non-perishable food to donate.

Franklin Park Turkey Trot – Dorchester
Runners and walkers enjoy a scenic 5K on the beautiful historic paths of Franklin Park during the annual Franklin Park Turkey Trot. The event supports the Franklin Park Coalition’s Youth Conservation Crew, Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park concerts, year-round volunteer days, woodlands restoration, and fitness activities. 

Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race – Andover
This race draws almost 10,000 runners, and we think it might have something to do with the apple pie they each take home afterwards. There’s a non-timed fun run for kids under the age of 12 (grouped by age to run appropriate distances), and special pricing is available for kids under 12 who want to run the 5K.

Dec 3, 2017

Holiday Hustle 5K Road Race – Newton
Hosted by the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton, the Holiday Hustle Road Race includes a 5K run on a certified flat course through the neighborhood of West Newton, professional chip timing by RaceWire, prizes to top finishers, and post-race festivities for all. Costumes are highly encouraged and carolers are welcome. Families can create a race team (at least one member must be age 16 and under) and race to win the title of Fastest Family. Other award categories include: Top 3 male and female overall, top 3 in each age group from 8 and under to 70 and over, youngest to finish, and fastest in costume. 

Dec 9, 2017

Ugly Sweater Run – Foxborough
Rummage up the ugliest sweaters you can find and celebrate the holidays by participating in the Ugly Sweater Run, the "Merriest 5k on the Planet."  Join thousands of runners and walkers at Boston's local Ugly Sweater Run to benefit Save the Children. If you’ve never run a 5k before, this is a festive way to break into the race world. Awards are given for great get-ups.

Dec 10, 2017

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis – Boston Common
Don your Santa hats and tie jingle bells to your shoelaces for the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. You can join as an individual or as a team and raise funds to help find a cure for arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. The kids have a chance to burn off some energy during the Santa Dash.

Walter’s Run 5K – West Roxbury
Walter's Run 5K was started to honor an athlete and friend and to benefit the Walter Burgess American Running Camp Scholarship, YMCA of Greater Boston Annual Fund, and Boston Globe Santa. The Little Kids’ Race (pictured) is an annual Walter’s Run tradition. Kids 10 and younger are encouraged to race the out and back 1k (~1/3 mile) course while chasing a giant penguin! Registration for the Kids' Race is free, and ribbons and candy canes are awarded to all participants.

Dec 17, 2017

Chanukah Run-a-Latke Family Fun 5K—Swampscott
The scenic Chanukah Run-a-Latke Family Fun 5K on the North Shore starts and finishes at the Chabad House. Free hot latkes, donuts and Chanukah fun await. There is Chanukah programming for children while the adults run, and the event wraps up with a giant LEGO menorah lighting.

Photo Courtesy of Walter’s Run from December 14, 2014