Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Move Over, Macy's 

There's another Thanksgiving-morning tradition in the making.

Before Eric Sandstrom enjoys turkey and stuffing, he'll be out on a racecourse, huffing and puffing.

"Competition takes a backseat to enjoying the morning," says Sandstrom, an avid runner who will join his sister, nephew, and a flock of others at the Cleveland Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. The annual five-mile race begins at Burke Lakefront Airport and winds through Cleveland's downtown streets, alongside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland Browns Stadium, then dips into the Flats.

Who really wants to spend a holiday morning scurrying along the lake in bone-chilling, early-morning downtown Cleveland? About 1,000 runners from at least 29 states, based on last year's count.

"I don't run to win," admits Sandstrom, who notes that the race field features a buffet of belly sizes and skill levels. "I run to see friends and enjoy scenery. You see people of every conceivable shape, size, and age group out there."

And unlike traditional marathoners, who "carb up" before a big race, Trotters are more likely to load up afterward. "I look at it as a way to burn some calories before I refuel," Sandstrom says.

No holiday event that encourages sweating before noon is without its share of dedicated athletes. "I like it because it's just like a party," says two-time winner Jeanne DeBonis, an avid marathon runner and triathlete. In the Turkey Trot, runners like DeBonis set the pace for a field garbed in outrageous hats, reptile suits, and Elvis regalia. It's Cleveland's own kind of Macy's parade, but without a 100-foot Underdog.

And the motivation? There's plenty. The Trot's best racers are running for their supper: The top 50 male and female finishers are awarded pumpkin pies.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Chris Miller

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation