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The best places to go for a Bay Area Thanksgiving Day run

A turkey mascot leads a pack of runners on a Thanksgiving run outdoors.
San Francisco’s Turkey Trot draws thousands of runners to Golden Gate Park. | Source: Evan Pilchik/Courtesy SF Turkey Trot

About 1,400 locals participate in the annual SF Turkey Trot through Golden Gate Park. It’s so popular, in fact, that slots for the charity run are already sold out. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sit around and just eat on Thanksgiving Day.

From a costume-friendly jaunt in Benicia to a challenging 9,000-foot course in Mill Valley, here’s where you can strut your runners’ or walkers’ stride for good causes around the Bay.  

East Bay

Oakland Turkey Trot

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m.
📍 550 El Embarcadero, Oakland
🎟 $19+

Two men run in turkey suit costumes.
Oakland's Turkey Trot encourages participants to dress up in honor of Thanksgiving. | Source: Courtesy Oakland Turkey Trot

This 5K run not only offers beautiful views of Lake Merritt, but you can also upgrade for access to a VIP village experience that includes a continental breakfast, a complimentary bottle of wine and a commemorative gift. Youth can run in a special 5K or a Run for Wildlife sponsored by the Oakland Zoo. Proceeds benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland Education Fund.

Piedmont Turkey Trot

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m.
📍 Piedmont Exedra, Highland and Magnolia Avenues, Piedmont
🎟️ $37-$52

Exercise to help out local student-athletes at this 5K run/walk through downtown Piedmont. The event supports the city of Piedmont’s Athletic Facilities Preservation Fund and Piedmont High School’s cross-country and track and field teams.    

Nitro Turkey Point Pinole Thanksgiving Run/Walk and Food Drive

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m.
📍 5551 Giant Highway, Richmond.
🎟️ $64+

Run along Point Pinole Regional Shoreline during this jam-packed turkey trot featuring 5K and 10K races and a spritely Little Turkey 100-yard dash for kids. A food drive for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano happens the morning of the race, so be sure to bring nonperishable food items; cash donations will also be accepted.  

Benicia Hand Up Turkey Trot

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m.
📍 540 Rose Drive, Benicia
🎟️ $25

Costumes are encouraged at this charity run benefiting the Tim & Jeannie Hamann Foundation, which helps patients with medical expenses, mortgage payments, groceries, utilities and other bills. Choose from a 1.5 mile-walk around Benicia Community Park or 2-mile jaunt around Lake Herman. Prizes will be given away for the best little turkey costume (kids under 12), the best big turkey costume (kids over 12) and the best “flock of turkeys,” or group costume of two or more. The best dog dressed as a turkey will also be awarded a goody basket.   

Fremont Quarry Turkey

🗓 Nov. 25, 7 a.m.
📍 2100 Isherwood Way, Fremont
🎟️ $50-$80

Fremont’s turkey trot in Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area holds a 5K, 10K and half-marathon, as well as a free 100-yard dash for kids attending with other racers. A food drive will be held on-site for the Alameda County Food Bank. 

South Bay

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m. 
📍 West Santa Clara and First Street, Downtown San Jose 
🎟️ $30+

Having raised more than $11 million to date, the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot returns for its 19th year to raise funds for local charities. Participants can choose to race in a 5K, 10K or Kids Fun Run through Downtown San Jose. There’s also a CEO/Executive 5K for runners donating $250 to $1,000 and a virtual run from Nov. 23 to 30 for those who can’t be there on Thanksgiving Day.  

Three women stand at a race course wearing turkey crowns on their heads.
Silicon Valley's Turkey Trot encourages the community to get together to celebrate Thanksgiving and support local charities. | Source: John Dyke @FORKSANDTRAILS/Courtesy Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

Beneficiaries of the runs include Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, Health Trust and the Healthier Kids Foundation’s Lacing Up for Literacy program, which has received more than 6,500 books since 2018 through the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. 

Zoom Turkey Trot 

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:20 a.m.
📍 985 Hellyer Ave., San Jose
🎟️ $0-$70

Run along the popular Coyote Creek Trail in Hellyer County Park during this fun run that includes not only 5K and 10K courses but also a certified half-marathon. Fuel up every 2 to 4 miles with fresh fruit, salty snacks, electrolyte drinks and assorted candy at aid stations along the way. 

​​Coyote Point Park Annual Gobble Wobble

🗓 Nov. 23, 8 a.m.
📍 1701 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo
🎟️ $5-$45

A post-race pancake breakfast caps off a 5K, 10K and kids fun run on Thanksgiving morning. Proceeds benefit the Lakas Shimizu Philanthropy Fund, which honors the life of its namesake and supports numerous charities throughout California, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco.  

Spartan Turkey Trot 

🗓 Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m. 
📍 3535 Truman Ave., Mountain View 
🎟️ $30-$50

The 14th annual Spartan Turkey Trot benefits Mountain View High School’s athletics department. Choose from a traditional 5K run/walk or take it easy with a one-miler. Kids can participate in a 60/400-yard dash. The top finishers will receive prizes and ribbons. 

North Bay 

Bank of Marin Turkey Trot

🗓 Nov. 23, 8 a.m.
📍 1800 Ignacio Blvd., Novato
🎟️ $25-$75

Take a jaunt through the College of Marin’s Indian Valley Campus during this trio of trots, including a 5K, 10K and a one-mile-long course. The event benefits School Fuel, a local education foundation supporting wellness, literacy, technology and the visual and performing arts at Novato public schools. Finishers go home with a golden “gobble wobble” long-sleeve shirt and a turkey-themed medal. 

​​Petaluma Turkey Trot 

🗓 Nov. 23, 8 a.m.
📍 3900 Lakeville Hwy., Petaluma
🎟️ Free, but donations are encouraged.  

No fee is required to enter this 4- or 6-mile run/walk event along Ellis Creek, but costumes and cash donations—which go directly to the Redwood Empire Food Bank—are encouraged. Warm-up music amps participants up at 8:15 a.m.

Quadruple Dipsea Run

🗓 Nov. 25., 7:30 a.m.
📍 Throckmorton Avenue and Cascade Way, Mill Valley
🎟️ $120

Challenge yourself at this intense race, which begins in Old Mill Park and winds its way through 9,000 feet of upward terrain that participants have to scale four times in a row! But the views may be worth the pain. The course includes tranquil sections of Muir Woods and scenic views of the Pacific. 

Wine Country


🗓️ Nov. 23, 8 a.m.
📍 333 Center St., Healdsburg 
🎟️ $20-$25

A man wearing a turkey hat leads a pack of runners.
Healdsburg's Turkey Trot takes participants through the city's downtown. | Source: Courtesy Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

Put in your steps to help local high school students achieve their college dreams. The charity run in downtown Healdsburg benefits the Drew Esquivel Memorial Scholarship, which helps high-achieving Healdsburg High School student-athletes go to college. Prizes will be given at random to runners with noteworthy costumes, and all participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt.    

Napa Valley Turkey Chase 

🗓 Nov. 23, 7:50 a.m. 
📍 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa
🎟 $45

This 5K and 10K takes runners around Napa Valley College and the Napa River Trail. A kids 100-meter Turkey Dash kicks things off at 7:50 a.m., followed by the 10K at 8 a.m. and the 5K at 8:15 a.m. At the event, racers can start the holiday season off right by donating new toys to Toys for Tots and some love to Mother Earth by bringing their gently used running shoes for recycling.

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