A Buffalo Tradition: 128th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot

Every year thousands of Buffalonians gather together for the YMCA Turkey Trot. The first ever Turkey Trot was held in 1896 where only six runners participated in a 5-mile dirt road footrace, and is the oldest continuously-run race in the world. The tradition has grown to be a part of more than 750,000 Americans’ Thanksgiving Day in cities across the country.   

The 128th YMCA Turkey Trot welcomed 14,000 participants of all ages and abilities to another successful race that promotes community, fitness, and charity. The trotters arrived around 8:30am at Tacoma Ave. and Delaware Ave. dressed up in turkey costumes, festive holiday gear, and YMCA t-shirts. After the costume contest the crowd was cheerful and ready to build up an appetite for a feast.

The Thanksgiving Day forecast called for mild temperatures in the mid 40s and no rain, making for another great race. The Buffalo Police closed the race route to motorists until 11:30am to ensure the safety and comfort of all goers. Thousands of spectators stood awaiting friends and family at the finish line located downtown near the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Michael Brannigan, fastest male, with a lightning speed time of 24:59 and Ellie Orie, fastest female, with an impressive time of 27:23 won the race.

The YMCA post-race party and award ceremony was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The City of Good neighbors enjoyed refreshments and music as trophies were awarded to 1st place overall male and female. All proceeds and donations from the race benefit lower income families in Western New York who otherwise are unable to participate in its programs and services. While the most passionate participants ran back to the start line, some utilized the shuttle provided by the YMCA. Another excellent Thanksgiving Turkey Trot completed in Buffalo!