TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of people on Long Island worked off the calories before their holiday meal with a traditional Turkey Trot.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the 40th annual road race in Garden City was the biggest trot ever, and it was all for charity.

It’s a most American way to kick off family time and rev up the metabolism. Some even dressed the part.

“Oh it’s the best, absolutely the best,” resident Laura Carey said. “I run with my daughter, my husband, my son, my friend from college, our dog, all our neighbors and community. It’s great.”

“It’s a great day to give thanks and remember there are greater causes out there than ourselves. So to show our kids that and also incorporate the fitness aspect is great,” said Anthony Wevers, of Levittown.

Under bright skies, 7,000 runners took part in three different races for all abilities.

“It went well. We didn’t cry, we succeeded,” one woman said.

The Morgans said they snuck into the kids run with their four-legged baby.

“She had her best time ever – Lonnie had her best time ever. She beat — last year she had 35 minutes, so we’re proud of her,” resident Bill Morgan said. “She’s been working out.”

The Miller family – all 80 of them – came from near and far for the celebration of life.

“My wife comes from nine. I come from 11,” resident Matt Miller said. “As far as California, as low as Florida, and as centralized as eight families around here in the area – Garden City, Hempstead, Rockville Centre, Point Lookout. We love it.”

“I like racing my sister, even though she’s faster than me,”

“I like that I beat her every year, no matter how hard she tries,”

Garden City hosts one of the original Turkey Trots on Long Island.

In what has become a holiday staple across the country, one million Americans run in more than 700 Turkey Trot races. Public foot races on Thanksgiving Day date back more than a century.

Nowadays, they’re a family affair.

“These Turkey Trots have taken on a life of their own. It’s such a great way to start the holiday,” said race director Ken Aneser. “You go out, you’re energetic, you’re seeing your neighbors and friends, and everyone is happy, everyone is smiling.”

The race not only raises spirits, but also raises money.

“It’s our favorite day. It’s just a great day to give thanks,” one woman said.

More than $100,000 were raised for three charities, and countless calories were burned.

CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan and her daughters, Elle and Emily, took part in Thursday’s five-mile Turkey Trot.

The winner was Nick Filippazzo, of Wantagh, who ran five miles in 24 minutes and two seconds.

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