Races around Denver and the Front Range

Maria Wells, left, Kris Carlson, middle, and her son Connor, 12, right, and 15 other family members wore pumpkin pie hats as they prepare for the Mile High United Way Thanksgiving day Turkey Trot in Denver on Nov. 26, 2015. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

The not-so-sound rationale behind running Turkey Trot road races is to offset the calories sure to come at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You try not to think about the fact that the 400 calories you burn in a 5K race will be canceled out by the appetizers you chow down long before you even get to the turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pecan pie.

Another reason is they’re just a great way to make some memories with your family. Those memories are even better when they’re free, right?

The Louisville Turkey Trot 5K has no fee to enter, certainly something to celebrate if you spent a fortune on extra holiday groceries. It also supports a good cause: runners are asked to donate non-perishable food and/or winter clothing in lieu of registration fees. (Even though it’s free, you must register to run.)

Created in 2013 to assist victims of Boulder County floods, the inaugural race drew about 1,000 people. Last year, the race attracted 13,000 and collected more than 20,000 pounds of food and more than 1,500 cubic feet of clothes, organizers said. This year’s race will benefit Sister Carmen Center’s food bank and thrift store in Lafayette.

This year’s race begins Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Louisville Public Library, 951 Spruce Street. Online registration closes on Wednesday, but walk-up registration is available on the day of the race. That’s yet another bonus to this race: Since there’s no entry fee, there’s also no annoying procrastination penalty to pay for race day registration. Register and find more information at sistercarmen.org/louisville-turkey-trot.

Here are some other Turkey Trots to consider in the Denver metro area:

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

Where: Washington Park
Distance: 4 miles

Marking its 45th year, this race figures to attract about 20,000 runners and walkers with proceeds going to Mile High United Way. $45 for ages 13-59, $35 for seniors, $30 for children 12 and under. First wave goes off at 10:15 a.m. unitedwaydenver.org/turkey-trot

Broomfield Turkey Day

Where: Broomfield County Commons

There is pumpkin pie waiting at the finish, so it’s nice that there is a rare 10K option in addition to the 5K. Races start at 9 a.m. Until Monday, adult prices are $50 (10K) and $40 (5K). Prices go up $5 on Monday and another $10 on race day. broomfieldturkeyday.com

Highlands Ranch Turkey Day 5K

Where: Shea Stadium

Starting and finishing at the stadium (3270 Redstone Park Circle), there is a free pancake breakfast (donations of $5 or more are suggested to benefit the Douglas County Fallen Officer Fund) along with free coffee, hot chocolate and a beer garden. The race begins at 9 a.m. thechambernwdc.org/pages/AnnualTurkeyDay5k

Stanley Harvesting Hope 5K

Where: Central Park, Stapleton

Benefiting a foundation that funds research into Prader-Willi Syndrome (a genetic disorder that causes life-threatening childhood obesity), runners will receive long-sleeve baseball-style T-shirts, free race photos with family or friends, and a finisher’s medal. Organizers say 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity. The race starts at 10:15 a.m. Registration is $35 through Monday, then increases to $40. harvestinghope5k.com

Gobble Wobble 5K

Where: Clement Park, Littleton
Distance: 5K

A fundraiser for AeroAngel, a Denver-based charity that provides free air transportation for medical care or “make-a-wish” requests. Race start is at 8:30 a.m. Registration is $35 through Sunday, $40 on race day. gobblewobblerun.org

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