Running Richmond’s Turkey Trot 10K

Richmond’s Turkey Trot 10K is one of my most favorite Richmond races. This year, I ran it for the fourth time in five years, missing it last year only because I was in Texas. I ran Houston’s Turkey Trot 10K instead,  which was fine, but mostly it just made me miss Richmond’s trot.

Recently, turkey trots became America’s most popular race, with almost one million runners participating in more than 1,000 turkey trots nationwide. It’s a tradition that apparently dates back to 1896. Maybe that’s the thing that makes it so popular, the whole tradition thing. That, and it’s always nice to knock out some fitness before spending an entire day eating and drinking.

I love that Richmond’s Turkey Trot is a 10K because that’s a solid 600 calorie burn that translates into extra mashed potatoes and also PIE. I fucking love pie, you guys.

The Richmond Turkey Trot runs through the campus of the University of Richmond and the surrounding neighborhood. It’s beautiful and hilly and neighborhood residents spectate from their front lawns, drinking coffee and cheering on racers. It’s a smaller race, with only about 1,600 runners, and this year the Richmond Turkey Trot celebrated its 40th running and was sponsored by Wegmans.

For me, this year’s race felt hard. I ran a real fast 10K in Texas last year – 47:52 – and I knew I wouldn’t get near that pace this year. I’m training for a half marathon the first week of December, so I’ve been running a lot. Still, I felt off for the trot. My music wasn’t right, I was thirsty and hungry and sleepy. My legs felt heavy and what I mistook for pre-race jitters turned into a very serious need to pee around mile 2.

When I don’t feel great on a run, I don’t look at my pace. I run by feel instead. For me and my sanity, it’s better to just run rather than stressing out over not hitting my goal pace. So that’s what I did on the Turkey Trot. I didn’t look at my watch, opting instead to keep it covered for the duration of the run. I slowed down when I felt like I needed to and I sped up when I felt like I could.

Richmond Turkey Trot 2017 || TERRAGOES.COM

Somewhat surprisingly I ran a 52:45, which is an average pace of 8:30. That’s the fastest I’ve ever run the Richmond Turkey Trot. So maybe that’s why it felt hard.

It was a nice surprise, for sure.

Post-race, I grabbed a salted pretzel bagel thing and trotted my ass back to the car because I was cold, y’all. I have not accepted it’s the cold weather running season yet. I’ve got three big races between now and March which means I’ll be training through the winter. Hopefully my the spring I’ll figure out how to dress myself appropriately for winter runs.

The Richmond Turkey Trot is hosted by the Richmond Road Runners Club and happens every Thanksgiving at 9 a.m.


  • San

    It sounds like you ran this race ‘alone’… I love that you’re doing this (I’ve run a few races ‘alone’, meaning I went there without friends who ran it too). Congrats on the race…. that is a really good finish (also: I ran a solo 10 k around the neighborhood exactly for the same reason: solid 600 calories to eat in food later, hehe).

    I know, I know, you’ve been running much longer than me but if you think <53 min is 'slow', then I have some serious work to do 😉

    • terrabear

      I did run it alone! This used to be one I always ran with my friend, Jen, but she’s had some injuries and is out of the running game. I usually run into other runners I know, mostly from the Army, but I didn’t this year. I was sort of surprised.

      And I promise I don’t think a sub-53 is slow. That’s a solid pace, for me and anyone else that definitely puts me into the faster category, still. I was very surprised I managed it because I felt slow, even though I was running a pretty solid 8:30 or faster for most of the race – excluding the 1st and 3rd miles which were closer to 9 minute miles. I think I was just totally off that day – I felt slow, but was actually going fast.

  • Kristin

    52:45 is still an awesome pace for a 10K! I’ve found the older I get, the less I care about the time, lol (does that make me lazy?!). Except for a half, of course, as I beat myself up if I don’t run those in sub-2:00 for whatever reason.

    • terrabear

      Yes! I’m the same about a sub-2:00. I feel like I can’t go back to running slower than that, not after having a handful of halfs under.

  • Kelsey | So Much Life

    Wow, that’s fast! Congrats! Especially with all those hills. I’m sure Houston’s race wasn’t quite that hilly… 🙂 I grew up doing the Dallas YMCA Trot every year, so I’ve probably done it around 12-15 times. I opted out this year, mostly because the crowds are just getting so insane. Last I heard, it’s the biggest Tgives race with around 35,000 runners!! Fun sometimes, but this year it just felt overwhelming to me.

    • terrabear

      Houston’s race was SO FLAT.

      I agree with your thoughts on a race with 35,000 people. I’ve done big races, and they can be really, really fun, but sometimes it’s just really nice to participate in something smaller, with less insanity.

  • Stephany

    I love doing the Turkey Trot in my city on Thanksgiving! I’ve done it every year except for a handful of years since 2006 and it’s become a fun little family tradition and I know the route so well now that I can pinpoint exactly how far away I am to the finish. 😉 I didn’t run a Turkey Trot this year because I hosted Thanksgiving with my mom, but we’ll see about next year!

    Congrats on your time in the 10k! That’s an impressive finish for a race that didn’t feel great!

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