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Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving Day 5k

Updated: Mar 30, 2021


The Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving Day 5k is an inexpensive turkey trot that is a bit windy and hilly. There are lots of prizes, awesome shirts and a good turn out. That's us with the new mayor above!

Dogs are welcome on leashes and you might find a few people with costumes. Those people must either be really in the Thanksgiving spirit or just can't let go of Halloween yet.



  • Inexpensive

  • Long sleeve shirt for winter

  • Great prizes


  • A bit hilly for kids and strollers

  • Unclear where to pick up age division ribbons. They should be handed out in the same area as the table to get your official time printed.


  • Dogs allowed on leashes. Not everyone is a fan of dogs at these things, but I don't mind when its just family fun.


I can't tell you the number of times that I have run the Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving 5k, but it's a great family and community tradition.

This annual turkey trot has been running for more than 35 years, well before Cottonwood Heights was incorporated as a City.

After becoming a City, the tradition began that anyone who beat the mayor got an, "I beat the Mayor" ribbon. It's fun to watch kids trying to beat the mayor. The past couple of years Cottonwood Heights has been doing medals for those who best the mayor. It used to be a ribbon. Getting fancy kids.

Last year and this year, my two oldest daughters begged and begged me to sign them up for the 5k, because they really wanted to beat the mayor. Here are a few pictures from last year:

Both year's I was skeptical on how they would do, so I warned them that a 5k is hard for kids their ages and that if they wanted to run with me they could't cry or whine the whole time. I even told them that they could walk with their grandma or run with their aunt. However, they both were insistent that they run with me. So I told them that it would hurt, but it would be worth it. They reassured me over and over that they would be fine.

Last year they both ran it in 33 minutes and my middle daughter got 3rd place in her age group. But it was the run itself that was most memorable...and this year's experience was identical, haha.

Our good family friend Trudy Zufelt reminded my girls to just have fun. I was grateful for her encouragement. I think we all still need to work on that one. The first tenth of a mile the girls were fine, but that's where the course immediately started uphill and that's when my oldest started crying and begging to walk. This proceeded for 2.5 miles no matter how slow we went...and right on mark with last year, haha.

It was fun seeing my wife pass us heading toward the finish line on the way back, but this only reminded me that we still had a ways to go.

My middle daughter was fine and just kept a steady pace with me, while my oldest walked, then sprinted, then walked and then sprinted. We're still trying to learn how to properly pace.

The funny part is that I could tell she physically could do it, but she kept telling herself that she couldn't. I simply reminded her where the mayor was several times and that seemed to motivate her to keep going.

With only about a half mile left, my middle daughter started crying too. I don't like to see my girls cry, but it was somewhat cute and comical to hear them freely speak about every ache and pain out loud for all to hear.

As other adults turned and giggled a bit at how cute my girls complaints were, they cheered them on and helped me talk them through it. That's what I love about running--there's so much positive encouragement.

As the finish closed in, my wife joined us. Then out of no where, my oldest daughter bolted the entire last quarter of a mile and I actually had to catch up to her, haha. I knew she had more in her.

Both girls finished within the 31 minute mark and PR'd by two minutes. My middle daughter also got 2nd place in her age group and my wife got 1st in her age group.Even though they hurt during the run, they were beaming with pride at the finish knowing that they beat the new mayor (and the old mayor), as well as beat their time from last year!

When we were done, we waited at the finish line and cheered on grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends!

It's a great Thanksgiving tradition!



Well, his real name is actually Dave...but "The Average Joe Runner" seemed like a catchy name for a blog. Born a sprinter, but converted to distance running in adulthood, Dave has run for more than 25 years. He is the father of four awesome kids and the husband to one amazingly talented, smart and fast-running wife.

The Average Joe Runner blog and website was born after Dave continued to get questions from friends and family alike for running tips and gear advice. However, this blog is also meant to hear from other Average Joe and Jane Runners out there. You can contribute to the blog by clicking Submit or Request. Follow The Average Joe Runner on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @TheAvgJoeRun. Read More



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