Turkey Trot Check-In: The Early Numbers

The biggest US running day of the year is coming up! In 2022, Thanksgiving Day races broke RunSignup records, with 756,894 participants across 730 races. Now, with about a month until Thanksgiving 2023, we ran the numbers to see how the day is shaping up.

All data is as of 10/25/2023.

How Many Turkey Trots Will There Be This Year?

754 Turkey Trots on RunSignup
276,932 Runners Registered
Turkey Trots in all 50 States

So far, we have 754 separate Thanksgiving Day races on RunSignup with at least one registration. That already exceeds the number of Thanksgiving Day races we saw in 2022, when 730 races were run. To date, 276,932 runners have registered for a Thanksgiving run, an average of 380 participants per race.

Where are Turkey Trots Being Held?

Turkey Trots are scheduled in all 50 states, with 10 states hosting 30 or more races on Thanksgiving Day. These states include: Pennsylvania (50 races), Florida (48 races), Texas (44 races), North Carolina (39 races), New York (38 races), California (38 races), Ohio (37 races), Virginia (32 races) and Michigan (30 races).

How Do 2023 Turkey Trot Registrations Compare to Previous Years?

Registrations Are Up 9.9% Compared to This Time Last Year

The big question for race directors after a few roller coaster years is “How many runners should I expect?” According to last year’s RaceTrends Report 42% of registrations take place more than a month before race day. But Turkey Trots have a unique cultural role, and data suggests that their registration patterns are slightly outside the norm. Turkey Trots see more registration procrastination than your typical race.

To get an idea what to expect from 2023 Turkey Trots, we looked at all Turkey Trots of over 300 participants that were on our platform in both 2022 & 2023.

We found that at this point in 2022, 32.6% of participants had already registered for the race. On average, races are trending ahead this year, with registration totals that are 35.8% of last year’s final numbers.

What Does that Mean for 2023 Turkey Trot Numbers?

While Thanksgiving races rebounded significantly in 2022, the average race still lagged slightly behind their 2019 numbers. Overall, per-race registration was down 3% in 2022 compared to 2019, so it’s possible that the slight increase in to-date registrations represents a full return to pre-pandemic numbers.

When we look at the race registration trends by the size of the race, it’s clear that the 2022 decline was largely limited to larger races, with races over 1,000 participants shrinking and races with fewer than 1,000 participants experiencing growth:

On the other hand, to-date registration number for 2023 show increases across all races size, although smaller races still fare the best compared to 2022. On a per-race basis, 2023 registrations are 9.9% up compared to the same time in 2022.

This table only looks at races that had more than 300 participants in 2022 and have Registration open on RunSignup in both 2022 and 2023.

It’s important to note, however, that Turkey Trots are highly variable and these are only averages. Within the data are races that are up 100% compared to this time last year, as well as races that are down 100%. Your own registration patterns may not reflect the national average. Take a look at your YoY stats on your race dashboard to get an idea how your race compares to previous years.

Turkey Trot Race Churn

0.6% of 2022 Turkey Trots Are Not Returning in 2023
0.8% of 2022 Turkey Trots Have an Unknown Status for 2023

Another question we wanted to answer was: how much race churn is there? In other words, how many Thanksgiving Day races are not recurring. Additionally, we look at competitor churn to understand how many of our races move to a different provider each year. As previously, this data only looks at Thanksgiving Day races with more than 300 participants in 2022.

In addition to No Race churn and Competitor churn, there were a few races of unknown status. These races have not definitively announced they are not returning, but do not currently have registration open. While it’s likely that some of races with unknown status will not come back, it is not unheard of for a Turkey Trot to open registration in November.

The competitor churn of 2.5% is consistent with what we have seen throughout 2023. However, the percent of races that aren’t coming back is much lower for Thanksgiving Day races than for the remainder of the year. Just 0.6% of races not returning in 2023, with an additional 0.8% of races of unknown status.


All together, what do we know about the status (so far) of Turkey Trots in 2023?

  • RunSignup continues to see an increase in the number of Thanksgiving Day races on the platform, with 754 races already accepting registrations. At least some of this is likely the result of increasing market share.
  • Early per-race registrations are encouraging. On average, per-race Turkey Trot registrations are up 9.9% compared to this time last year, with bigger increases seen for races under 1,000 participants.
  • Most 2022 Turkey Trots are returning in 2023, with just 1.4% either potentially or definitely not holding a race.

All-in-all, it’s shaping up to be another exciting, record-breaking Thanksgiving Day. Getting ready for your race day and want to make sure you’ve crossed every T? Join us on 11/2 for a live webinar covering how you can ensure an engaging and efficient race day experience with the RaceDay Suite.

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