14,000 runners and walkers take part in Turkey Trot

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The 120th annual YMCA Turkey Trot is in the books, and 14,000 people turned out to take part in this year’s Thanksgiving Day tradition.

The walkers and runners made their way downtown over a five mile course beginning right around 9 a.m. Thursday. Many of the participants took on the race in costumes, dressed as everything from turkeys and pilgrims, to Buffalo Sabres, to Santa and superheroes.

A lot of the racers packed the starting gate area early, ready to go.  “It’s an event. It’s the thing to do on Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of good runners here,” said one runner Tom Lephee, as he prepared to start the race.

“It’s been a family tradition for a very long time, since I can remember,” said another racer, Jillian Kowalski.

The Turkey Trot has become a big family tradition for a lot of people. Our News 4 crew met people who had been taking part for decades, as well as people who were starting a new tradition with this year’s race.

Everyone was excited to lace up their sneakers and join the sea of walkers and runners completing the 8k race.

“It’s important for us to pass down to these guys, the young runners,” said one racer, Dan Koppman, who was getting ready to do the race with his children. “Try to teach them health and fitness and just get them into the spirit of Buffalo.”

The race also got a lot of people a little hungrier for a big Thanksgiving dinner.  “It’s all about being healthy and huffing for that stuffing,” Jennifer Laurie laughed near the starting line.

“Going to burn off half a pie this morning. That’s my goal,” agreed another runner, Christopher Somers.

And, on top of the calorie burning and the fun, the big crowd really does support some good causes. Their registration fees help fund the YMCA’s financial assistance programs, and the race is a donation drive for the Western New York Food Bank.

“It’s good to feel good about giving back something to other people who are less fortunate,” said Laura Lista, when asked about the philanthropic aspect of the Thanksgiving Day race.

Of course, this year, the runners and walkers had one more big thing to be thankful for: Excellent weather at race time. “Last year was my first year and it was freezing, so this is a good change for sure,” said Abby Doyle.

You can watch a full video of the race on YouTube and you can see the top finishers below.

Men Leaders
Time Name Age Residence
25:48 Michael Thielman 25 Vienna, VA
26:03 Elliott Martynkiewicz 21 East Aurora, NY
26:20 Jacob Krolick 25 Arcade, NY
Women Leaders
Time Name Age Residence
29:49 Alexandra Cadicamo 27 Philadelphia, PA
30:12 Jennifer Boerner 33 Buffalo, NY
30:53 Brooke Adams 26 Randolph, NY


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