For most, the 117th annual Turkey Trot was not a race. While some challenged at the front of the pack along the eight kilometer course, the majority moved down Delaware Avenue at a much slower pace.
"It's fantastic. I think everybody is in a great mood because it's the holiday," said YMCA Buffalo Niagara Communications Director Kathy Romanowski, who was organizing publicity efforts at the starting line before 5 a.m.
"You have people coming home for the holiday with friends and family. You see reunions happening spontaneously out on the race course. People didn't realize their friends and college buddies were going to be out there. It's just so upbeat and light-hearted.We've got people in costume. Everybody's laughing and smiling. It's the place to be on Thanksgiving morning here in Buffalo."
Registration was capped at 14,000 this year, a number reached over a week prior to the event.
"All those proceeds go back to the YMCA here in the community, which is nice. Everything stays local and it helps your fellow neighbors," Romanowski said.
"Those who can't normally afford program and services at the Y, but do need them to lead healthier lifestyles, to have a safe place for their children. All these go back to our financial assistance program to help people out."
UPDATE: 25-year-old Jed Christiansen of Greenville, PA was the fastest man at this year's race with a time of 24:01. 34-year-old Jacklyn Rzepecki of Rochester, MI led the women with a time of 28:17.