The holidays are around the corner, and with all the feasting and festivities comes inevitably the dreaded Thanksgiving flub.
Fort Collins and neighboring cities will be host to several events the week of Thanksgiving to zap those excess calories.
"If you run in the morning, then you don't feel bad when you eat a big meal," said Tod Rivas, member of the Fort Collins Trail Runners.
Most popular and plentiful are the traditional Turkey Trots.
One local being Pederson Volvo's Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Run, this 4-mile run in downtown Fort Collins is the largest Thanksgiving Day event in Northern Colorado with about 2,500 participants.
Its founder, Ken Foralzy, head of Fort Collins Athletic Club, started the event 11 years ago.
"I grew up with a Thanksgiving Day run in my hometown. When I moved here 14 years ago, there was none, so I started the tradition," Foralzy said.
This year, the run will feature an elite runner competition at 8:30 a.m. and will kick off the regular run and 1-mile "Gobble Gobble" run for kids at 9 a.m. Registration is available at www.timberlinetiming.com, or at Old Chicago on the race day morning from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Afterward, Old Chicago is keeping its doors open until midnight for the post-race party and award ceremony.
"When I ran the Turkey Trot in 2002, that's what got me hooked on running," said Jonathon Vigh, graduate student in atmospheric science and member of the Fort Collins Trail Runners. "There's so much camaraderie. You're standing out with 2,000 people who are just as crazy as you are out in the cold, early morning on Thanksgiving."
To get a jump start before the full-fledged feasting, try hitting up one of the events the weekend proceeding Thanksgiving.
On Saturday, the 5K Turkey Trot Predict will take place in Colorado Springs; the 20th Annual Turkey Trot 5K run and walk will kick off at 8:30 a.m. at the Brighton REC Center; and the Strider Tom Turkey six-mile Prediction Run will take place in Grand Junction.
But wherever home or traditions may be on Thanksgiving Day, there is bound to be a race close by.
"My dad and I run together every year. It's our tradition," said freshman Hillary Morrell, a technical journalism and German major.
The Loveland 5K Turkey Trot, as well as a 2K fun run, will depart from the McKee Medical Center at 8 a.m.
The University of Colorado-Boulder Turkey Trot begins at 10 a.m. from the CU Research Park in Boulder, and Highlands Ranch is hosting a 5K run starting from Shea Stadium in Redstone Park at 9 a.m.
Near INVESCO Field Mile High Stadium, the 31st Annual United Way Turkey Trot at Washington Park in Denver begins 10 a.m.
Registration and details for all of these events can be found at www.active.com.
If running doesn't seem ideal for a relaxing week away from classes, get out and enjoy the serene beauty of the mountains, with a variety of events taking place at nearby ski resorts and ranches.
"It's a great way to get your friends together and plan a trip," said junior David Datski, a natural resource tourism and recreation major.
EMS Telemark Demo Days are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 27 at Loveland Ski Area.
Colorado's own women's outdoor enthusiast group, Babes in the Backcountry, is hosting the Women's Backcountry Basics Winter Skills Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Loveland Ski Area. For $75, a full-day clinic, including rental equipment, is designed for both the introductory backcountry user and the traditionally lift-served skier who has interest in exploring the backcountry. Visit www.babesinthebackcountry.com for registration and details.
From Friday to Nov. 28, the Crested Butte Nordic Council is hosting the 4th Annual Thanksgiving Training Camp for nordic skiing. Registration can be obtained by contacts through email@example.com.
Keystone Resort is hosting the Winterfall Rail Jam Friday and Nov. 27, and Winter Park's similar event, Jiblits and Gravy Rail Jam, will take place Nov. 27.
"Skiing can be a good way to spend your Thanksgiving," said senior Lacee Gordon, a microbiology major. "It all depends on the snow, and if you like your family."
In addition to the health benefits of being active, all of these events allow "you to see a lot of people you haven't seen in years," Foralzy said. "It's a great opportunity for college students who aren't going home for the holidays to generate camaraderie. That's why holiday races are so fun."