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Delaware YMCA Turkey Trot: Some Things Old, Some Things New

By Thomas Tarapacki

The YMCA
Turkey Trot is the oldest, continually running road race in North America, but
that doesn’t stop event organizers from trying a few new things. The 114th YMCA
Turkey Trot, which will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 26,
beginning at 9AM, will have some new wrinkles designed to help the event
continue to evolve and grow.

The Turkey
Trot begins at Delaware Avenue and Shoreham and basically follows Delaware into
downtown, ending at the Buffalo Convention Center.  The distance is 8k, or 4.97 miles.

Race Director
Tom Donnelly outlined some of the changes this year. To begin with, long sleeve
t-shirts will replace the short sleeve shirts that had been given to runners in
recent years. “People like change, and we have had short sleeve shirts for a
number of years. Besides, as a fall event long sleeves are probably more
appropriate.”

In the past,
free shuttle buses took runners who parked downtown near the finish to Delaware
and Hertel, near the front of the starting line. This year, the shuttles will
take runners to the Target Plaza on Delaware, near the back of the line. “It’s
about the same distance from the line, but it will help avoid congestion at the
front of the race,” pointed out Donnelly. “However, it is closer to the
Delaware YMCA, where the portable toilets will be located.” The last shuttle to
the starting line will leave the Convention Center at 7:45 AM.

The racecourse
will be the same, and the general rules remain in effect: roller blades,
strollers, and dogs are not allowed on the racecourse. 

trot fan.png

Many of the
runners’ family, friends and co-workers turn out for the race, and this year
race organizers are trying to get spectators more involved in the Turkey
Trot.   They’re working with
Marti Gorman, community organizer and founder of Buffalo Homecoming (formerly
Buffalo Old Home Week) to develop even more spectator involvement. “We want to
get community groups involved in cheering on the runners,” explained Donnelly. “We
have crowds of people along the racecourse now, but we want even more.” He
pointed to the Utica Boilermaker 15K, which has drawn national attention with
its large, colorful crowds of spectators. 
In Utica, each neighborhood along the race competes to support the
runners and claim the title as the most supportive. “It’ll take some time for
us to get to the level of Utica, but we hope to build on it every year.”

Runners will
again receive computer chip timing devices in their race packets that they can
attached to a shoe to record the actual start and finish times.  At the end of the race runners will
receive two results: “gun time,” which records your time from when the starting
gun sounded and when you crossed the finish line, and “chip time,” which is the
time from when you actually crossed the starting line and when you crossed the finish
line. The difference this year is that the Turkey Trot will use D-Tag
disposable chips that don’t have to be returned following the race. “That will
eliminate a lot of fuss getting through the finishing chute, since we won’t
have to remove everyone’s chips,” explained Donnelly. “In addition, if
something comes up and you can’t make it to the race, you don’t have the
responsibility of having to return the chip.”

trot crowd.png

There’s also
going to be a change with the post-race party, which attracts thousands of runners
as well as their family and friends. Instead of just using the second floor of
the Convention Center for post-race festivities, the organizers will now have
8,000 sq. ft. area on the first floor. Not only will it provide some additional
space for the huge post-race crowd, but it will also be a family-friendly,
alcohol-free area. “We anticipate that it won’t be as congested as upstairs,”
said Donnelly. “It’ll be a great place to just grab a yogurt or water, or to
meet someone after the race.” 
Volunteers and signage will direct runners to the area.

After the
race, shuttles will run from the Convention Center to the Delaware Y from 10:30
to 11:45 AM.

Despite all
the changes taking place with the Turkey Trot, one thing certainly won’t change
—- Turkey Trot will once again be one of Buffalo’s premier running events,
and a memorable experience for runners and spectators alike.

An entry costs
$20 up to November 21st, $25 up to November 25th, and $30 the day of the race.
You can get information and register online at www.ymcabuffaloniagara.org.
Proceeds from the event are used to underwrite programs and services of YMCA
Buffalo Niagara.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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