The 21st Annual
Thanksgiving Day 5K
Thanksgiving Day 5K
Welcome to the 21st Annual Thanksgiving Day 5K at Balboa Park!
San Diego’s original and longest-standing Thanksgiving Day “turkey trot” is back, and it’s critical mission remains the same: To provide crucial funds to feed the homeless through Father Joe’s Villages’ meal program.
During this season of giving and plenty, we invite you to give back to our community and make an impact on those who have less.
Commonly Asked Questions about the Thanksgiving 5K
What Does Turkey Trot Mean?
In the US, a turkey trot is a footrace that’s usually long-distance and held on Thanksgiving Day. It’s called a turkey trot because turkeys are traditionally the main dish of a Thanksgiving dinner. There are turkey trots in the UK, too, shortly before or after Christmas Day.
The turkey trot is also a dance from the early 1900s that was done to fast ragtime music. So, you could turkey-trot a turkey trot if you wanted to.
How Many Miles is a Turkey Trot?
Turkey trots tend to be between 3.1 miles (a 5K) and 13.11 miles (half-marathon, or 21.1 km), although turkey trots are often informal fun runs where the focus is more about finishing the course at whatever pace and by whatever means are allowed. Like the Father Joe’s Villages’ turkey trot, some turkey trots encourage people to wear costumes too. Father Joe’s Villages is geared towards providing a fun experience for families so ours is a 5K and running or walking and strollers are encouraged!
What is the Course Route?
Who Invented the Turkey Trot?
As reported by Runner’s World, the first turkey trot was in Buffalo, NY in 1896 (making it 124 years old in 2020). It was a cross country 8k (around 5 miles) with just six participants, with only four of them finishing.
One runner stopped after two miles, and another stopped when his “late breakfast refused to keep in its proper place.” The winner was Henry A. Allison, who took 31 minutes and 12 seconds to finish the race, which is about six minutes-per-mile.
You’d think that would have also been the last turkey trot, but it happened the next year and every year since then, making it the oldest continuous footrace in North America.
The tradition of wearing costumes started in the early 1980s, at least in Buffalo, when participants dressed up like Canadian hockey players.
What Road Closures Will There Be on the Day of the Race?
Quince St off ramp from 163 northbound – 7:15 – 8:30 a.m.
Robertson St. off ramp from 163 northbound – 7:15 – 9:30 a.m.
Robinson St. off ramp from 163 northbound – 7:15 – 9:30 a.m.
Pan American Rd – 6:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Cabrillo Bridge – 6:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Balboa Dr. from Laurel to Upas St. – 7:15 – 8:30 a.m.
6th St. from Upas St. to Robinson St. – 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Robinson St from 6th St. to Vermont – 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Vermont from Robinson to Pennsylvania – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Pennsylvania from Vermont to Richmond st – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Richmond S/B from Pennsylvania to Upas – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Upas E/B from Richmond to Park Blvd – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Park Blvd S/B from Upas to Zoo Dr – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Zoo Dr W/B From Park to the Zoo – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Zoo Pl E/B From the Zoo to Park – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Park Blvd S/B from Zoo pl to Village Pl – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Village Pl. from Park Blvd. to El Prado – 7:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Are Children & Strollers Allowed?
Yes! We are a family friendly event and welcome parents and their kiddos! (Strollers allowed)
Are Dogs Allowed?
Yes! We are very dog friendly and have dog bandannas and biscuits for sale!