Thanksgiving Morning: Run the Del Mar Track

The family fun run raises money for the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, THEN THE FOOD: Thanksgiving morning fun runs have become the Thing with a capital T over the last decade or so. They're never too long, distance- or time-wise -- people have to get home and check on the bird in the oven -- and there is typically a fundraising element, which lends the gratitude-filled day a true sense of giving back. And almost all Turkey Day dashes have a zany or unusual element, which might incorporate dressing up like a yam, carrying a can of cranberry in each hand as you jog, or, in the case of the run that goes down at the Del Mar Racetrack, hoofing it along the very track where the ponies fly by.

THURSDAY, NOV. 27: Not just the very track, but participants line up at the starting gate, too, so consider this a fine chance to get a horse's eye view as to what they're seeing before their fleet-of-hoof races kick off. The run itself is one mile long, around the track, and lookie at this: Jockeys will also run the race, too. (If you want to neigh as you go, or flap your hair about like a mane, to get into the spirit of the place, that's your prerogative.) But everyone's large-hearted prerogative, or at least initiative, is to help out the Helen Woodward Animal Center of Rancho Santa Fe, which is the day's beneficiary. All proceeds'll help out the beasties at the center and the programs that the animal careplace supports. An adoption will go on that morning, too, if you've been thinking of a new cat or pup of your own.

STAY AND WATCH: Races -- the horsey kind -- start at 11 a.m. that day, and runners shall get free admission. That is, if you don't need to get home and check on the bird. Wherever you head out to Thanksgiving dinner, though, whether it be your own home or a pal's, you have to brag about running from the starting gate at famous Del Mar Racetrack. Giddy up, grateful Thanksgiving trotters.

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