As the holidays rapidly descend upon us, many active folks aim to fend off dreaded holiday pounds by running turkey trots on Thanksgiving morning. While there's nothing wrong with this fun and active ritual, there are only so many turkey-themed events one can endure. Perhaps it's time to start another tradition instead, one that eschews predictable Thanksgiving norms. This Turkey Day, head away from the starting line and choose your own adventure. We have five awesome outdoor Philly adventures to kickstart your weekend.
1. Organize a hash run with friends.
Spin the traditional turkey trot on its head by organizing your own hash run with a group of old high school buddies. Hash runs are informal group runs where the leader, or "hare" marks a course with flour or chalk, often leading to dead ends or turnarounds. The rest of the group follows the leader's marked trail and ultimately ends up at a destination with plenty of beer. Some hash runs include stops at bars along the route as well, so make sure to select a beer-loving crew for the hash.
2. Head for the hills.
Instead of waiting in line for stores to open this Black Friday, why not head north to the Poconos to tackle one of the area's epic hikes? The weather is still perfect for climbing mountains, so take advantage of it before winter sets in. Some favorite local hikes include Dingmans Falls, Glen Onoko Falls, and the Pinnacle on the Appalachian Trail.
3. Run or walk a shelter dog.
If you're looking for an active way to give back to the animal community this Thanksgiving, head to a PAWS or STAR shelter in Philly to walk or run one of their rescue dogs. The organization that leads these efforts is called Monster Milers , and they coordinate dog runs all over Philadelphia. Be sure to contact them for more information on volunteering and to register for a short orientation. There are plenty of dogs across the city that will be cooped up inside while families dine on Thanksgiving feasts, so take an opportunity to help give them a breath of fresh air with a nice jog through Philly.
4. Create a circuit workout at a hometown playground.
Don't sweat missing your CrossFit or group exercise workout on Thanksgiving. Instead, head to a local playground and create your own circuit workout. Hit the monkey bars for pull-ups, do push-ups on the pavement, and use the picnic bench for tricep dips. The best part of this workout is that you can do as many exercises as you desire before tapping into the stuffing and mashed potatoes.
5. Go disc golfing with family at Sedgely Woods or French Creek.
In lieu of traditional turkey trotting or family football games, why not head to a local disc golf course instead? Take advantage of one of the Philly area's outstanding courses at Sedgley Woods in Philadelphia proper, or at French Creek State Park in the northwestern suburbs. Both courses offer varying difficulty levels within secluded woods. Bring the kids along for family fun on Thanksgiving morning, or head out with friends on Black Friday instead of shopping.