Record number of Turkey Trotters at 117th annual event
Thousands of runners started their Thanksgiving in downtown Buffalo at the 117th annual Turkey Trot - burning some calories before their holiday meal. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti spent the morning with the runners at the start and finish lines.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Fourteen thousand sets of sneakers made their way down Delaware Avenue for this year's YMCA Turkey Trot, up 800 people from 2011, making it the largest ever.
"It's a great way for Buffalo to kind of come together, and for you to spend time with your family or friends," said Rachel Wysocki from Cheektowaga.
Many of the runners had some fun with fashion for the race as this year brought the first ever costume contest to honor their creativity.
The best group costume award went to a team dressed as the cast from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the best individual award went to Lisa Welch from Canada, who came in holiday-appropriate attire.
"It's the best dressed, right? So I thought the turkey - the best dressed, a little elegant look," said Welch.
As for the race winners, 25 year old Jed Christiansen of Greenville, Pennsylvania was the first man across the finish line and the first woman was 34-year-old Jacklyn Rzepecki of Rochester, Michigan who's originally from Woodlawn.
"Every year, I come in, my family puts a lot of pressure on me to get on the news so I feel like they won't let me eat turkey dinner unless I win the race," said Rzepecki.
We spoke with many runners who grew up in Western New York and have moved out of town, but they say the Turkey Trot is a great tradition to come home to.
"Our family's been running it together for I don't know how many years, 6 years at least, so we come home every Thanksgiving, me and my two brothers from Boston come to Buffalo," said Lia Morelli of Massachusetts.
Her brother, Marc Morelli said, "It's a great way to start off Thanksgiving. You get the race out of the way, the rest of the day you can relax, you feel good about yourself."
The Turkey Trot raises money for the YMCA's financial assistance program, and also works to help the Food Bank of Western New York.
Organizers say they're hoping to raise 6,000 meals and say people can still drop off donations to any YMCA into next week.