Try These Virtual Turkey Trots and Other COVID-Friendly Thanksgiving Activities

Even with COVID restrictions around indoor gatherings, there are still plenty of things to do with the family—from DIY Turkey Trots in costume to snow- or bike-filled fun.

Photo: Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

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With COVID-19 cases spiking and hospitals facing staffing and bed shortages around the U.S., the CDC is urging people to avoid gathering for Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still see friends and family—and it doesn’t mean you can’t still get in some Turkey Trots and have fun (and stay fit). What can you do safely for the holidays? Here are some COVID-friendly Thanksgiving activities for everyone:

Take a Hike

Hitting the trails has a popular history before (or after) turkey as a Thanksgiving activity—and you can still enjoy your favorite park with family and friends whatever you eat for dinner. Looking for a hike? The National Park Service has some suggestions for REI’s popular #OptOutside campaign. Also, the health benefits of walking are well-documented; a good hike could do wonders for your training.

Run a Virtual Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving has become the biggest running day of the year, with 1.17 million runners doing a Turkey Trot last year. And while in-person races have largely been canceled and you probably aren’t going to run with thousands of your closest friends, you can still participate in a Turkey Trot. You can even take a cue from pro runner Molly Seidel and try to set a 5K record in a turkey costume. (Or be like the pro triathletes and do it in a dinosaur costume instead.)

Many local 5Ks have gone online or have virtual options if you don’t want to just DIY it yourself. Here are some virtual Turkey Trots if your local one isn’t happening:

Create a Team Challenge

Instead of the family football game, you can do the family run/walk neighborhood challenge. Create a team with Run Across America to raise money for Feeding America while everyone try to collectively run across the country—or create multiple teams within your friends and family and challenge each other. Or do it Ekiden-style as a virtual relay. (You can also join our sister brand’s Miles That Matter challenge starting in December to log 100,000 miles collectively over the month, while raising money for charity.)

Not inspired yet? Make up your own challenge: create a team scavenger hunt around town, or a virtual family feud. The important thing isn’t the details, it’s whether you or your sibling wins.

Go For a Bike Ride—For Charity

Live somewhere warm enough to ride outside? Do it. While many towns have informal Thanksgiving morning group rides, you don’t have to wait for an invitation. Make your own. Extra bonus this year: You can do good while logging miles. For Black Friday, Rapha will be shutting down its stores and donating bikes to World Bicycle Relief for every mile you ride—1,000 kilometers equals one bike, with the goal to ride 1 million kilometers collectively. Log your Ks here.

(Worried it’ll be too cold? We have a winter cycling clothes guide for you. And why not try some gravel riding while you’re at it.)

Go Play in the Snow

Live somewhere cold enough for snow? Hit the slopes—the Nordic slopes. Maybe the family isn’t up for a super intense run or bike ride as a Thanksgiving activity, but low-key snowshoeing or cross-country skiing is a great way to try something new and get everyone outside together. Bonus on this one: While most downhill resorts have reservations systems in place as a COVID-19 precaution, Nordic centers are rarely full—much more inherently socially distanced (and much cheaper). Plus, cross-country skiing will help your triathlon-ing.

Now get outside, have fun, stay safe, and stay healthy!

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