Turkey Trot attracts 14,000 runners, many in unique garb

Nov 26, 2015

Clutching a large forest-green bow and carrying a quiver filled with arrows on his shoulder, the colorful character inspected the huge crowd that gathered on Delaware Avenue in North Buffalo.

"I'm here for security purposes," he told an inquiring WBFO reporter as he eyed a street crammed with eager runners.

John and Paul Kopalek of Binghamton prepare to run in the Turkey Trot.
Credit Brian Meyer/WBFO

The man identified himself as Oliver Queen. Fans of DC Comics know that Queen is the secret identity of superhero Green Arrow.

There were many superheroes in the crowd as the Turkey Trot made its 120th run from North Buffalo into the downtown business district.  There's only one day each year in Buffalo when you can find superheroes mingling with comic book villains, talkative turkeys, prancing Pilgrims ,jogging Santas and many other outlandish characters .

John Koplaek was the guy dressed as Oliver Queen. His son, Paul Kopalek arrived at the race in Spider-Man garb.
The father-and-son duo trekked all the way from Binghamton to participate in a rain, snow or shine ritual.

Although some runners found it challenging as they ran into a stiff wind, most expressed delight that there was no snow on the ground and the temperature was unseasonably warm.

“I love running with the 14,000 people. It’s awesome," said Glenn Osswald of Cheektowaga, who was

Credit Brian Meyer/WBFO

participating in his third Turkey Trot. “It’s something you need to do once in a lifetime – at least. It’s a tradition.”

Credit Brian Meyer/WBFO

The run is sponsored by the YMCA, and organizers credit the popular event for raising money that helps keeps valued programs accessible to residents across the region.

Credit Brian Meyer/WBFO

Still, what attracts so many people on Thanksgiving morning to what is billed as the oldest continually running public footrace in the nation?

“Sight-seeing," responded Hamburg resident Amanda Antonik. "Absolute sight-seeing. People watching.”

Within seconds, the Turkey Trot runner was pointing out a group of passing Minions and dancing elves.

"You see it all," chuckled Antonik.

Of course, the event also attracted many competitive runners. Williamsville native Michael Thielman was the top men's finisher, while Alexandra Cadicamo of Philadelphia captured first place in the women's division.