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Thanksgiving is upon us, which means a smorgasbord of temptation lurks at every holiday function. One of the best ways to combat the extra pounds is by running.

Whether you’re a beginner or veteran, there are plenty of Thanksgiving runs to attend, across the country and right here in northern Arizona. Here are some other perks that come with participating in a local turkey trot:

1. Justify eating more pumpkin pie at dinner.

2. Break up everyone’s predictable Instagram feeds with you in short-shorts and a ridiculous turkey hat.

3. Sneak out of the house early before your in-laws arrive, plus leave the meal prep to your other family members.

4. Practice the mad dash that will be needed for Black Friday shopping.

5. Get the dogs tired out so they don’t harass visitors like they did last year.

6. Subtly remind your family at dinner that you need new running shoes and Christmas is soon (cough, cough).

7. Halt the inevitable conversation regarding politics by talking about your latest race and mile splits in extreme detail.

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8. Get up and take random “stretch breaks” to escape questions from your parents about why you’re still single.

9. Use a great excuse to avoid post-dinner cleanup by passing out on the couch because you’re “so exhausted” from your 5-mile turkey trot.

10. Did we mention you can eat more pumpkin pie without feeling guilty?

Now that you’re properly motivated, here are three running opportunities in Flagstaff and Sedona on Thanksgiving Day:

The Run Sedona running store is hosting the 10th annual Sedona Turkey Trot 5K. Entry is $35 until packet pickup, $40 at pickup and on race day. The race will sell out at its fully stuffed capacity of 500 runners. sedonarunning.com/turkey-trot

Want to get some distance up at Lowell Observatory? Check out Trail Gangsta's Turkey Trottin in the Pinez, Back for Seconds. Starting at 8 a.m., there will be three options: Eazy Peazy Lemon Squeezy (1.8 miles), Chill (3.1 miles) and Hype (6 miles). www.facebook.com/events/527002148102429/

Finally, one of Flagstaff's oldest running traditions enters its 39th year as the Old Flagstaff Road and Track Club presents its free, family-friendly, 2-mile Turkey Predictor Run. Meet at Buffalo Park at 9 a.m. to register by predicting your time. There’s only one rule: no watches.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Ruairi Moynihan and Crystal Hernandez manage Trail GangstAZ, a local running group and online retail store promoting “Arizona trail running with a gangsta twist.” Neil Weintraub manages the Northern Arizona Trail Running Association, which promotes “trail running in northern Arizona to folks of all abilities.”

Do you have a column, tip or idea for High Country Running? Send it to coordinating editor Julie Hammonds at runner@juliehammonds.com.

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