Here’s your warning: Now is the time to register for the 2011 Turkey Trot. At some point before the start of this Buffalo tradition registration will likely be shut down, so it’s a good idea to do it now.
As you may know, the Turkey Trot has gotten so popular that last year race organizers decided to limit participation to 12,500 registrants. The race had grown so large that, for the safety of all involved, it was decided to cap the number of runners. That same limit is in place this year as well.
The 116th annual YMCA Turkey Trot will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 24, 2011, beginning at 9:00am. The Turkey Trot begins at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Shoreham and basically follows Delaware into downtown, ending at the Buffalo Convention Center. The distance is 8k, or 4.97 miles. The post race party and awards ceremony will be held on the upper level of the Convention Center. Once again, there will be an alcohol-free “family-friendly” area on the first floor.
The YMCA Turkey Trot is the oldest continually run footrace in North America. It started way back in 1896, when Henry A. Allison finished first in a field of six to win the initial Turkey Trot. Since then there have been many memorable races. Here are a few highlights:
• In 1944, 15-year-old Anthony Diamond became the youngest person ever to take home the overall winner’s trophy.
• In 1972 Mary Ann Bolles became the first woman runner in the Turkey Trot, finishing 142nd out of 169 runners.
• Mark Finucane, recently inducted into the inaugural class of the WNY runners Hall of Fame, won four straight Turkey Trot victories from 1980 to 1983.
• David O’Keefe, another member of the WNY runners Hall of Fame set the record for the best running time, 23:13, in 1989.
• In 2000 an early snow storm hit Buffalo the Monday before Thanksgiving, but City crews cleared Delaware Avenue to allow the race to go on.
If you can’t participate as a runner, you can still enjoy the race. Race director Tom Donnelly encourages everyone to stop out, watch the event, and cheer on the runners. Anyone can support the event by becoming a Trot Gobbler —– companies, schools, block clubs. Just call 565-6000 ext. 119 for more information. In addition, anyone can just grab a spot along Delaware Avenue to see the thousands of runners trot into downtown.
For more information and to register visit www.ymcabuffaloniagara.org. Proceeds from the event are used to underwrite programs and services at YMCA Buffalo Niagara Branches.
Thanksgiving is still over a month way, but it’s a good idea to register for the race as soon as you can. If you’re a runner, you don’t want to miss participating in this great event. Even if you’re not a runner, be sure to stop out and watch one of the area’s largest and most colorful races take place on Thanksgiving morning.
Photo: Rimas Musteikis