The Show Must Go on: Buffalo Turkey Trot Still on Despite Unprecedented Snowstorm

Athlete running road silhouette
Despite the overwhelming early winter storm that left many parts of Buffalo and its surrounding areas buried under several feet of snow last week, the city still plans to hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.

This year is the 119th anniversary of the Turkey Trot, and the recent snowstorm has put Buffalo’s Turkey Trot reputation at stake. The traditional 8k Thanksgiving day race, which began back in 1896, is the oldest consecutive foot race in U.S. history. The city doesn’t plan on letting a little snow take away its title.

Ever since 2010, the Buffalo Turkey Trot has sold out, and this year it had the maximum of 14,000 runners register to participate in the race. Typically, not all those who register for the race actually cross the finish line, whether they are runners coming from out of town who got stuck in bad weather on the road or those who decided to catch an extra hour of sleep Thanksgiving morning instead. After the storm, however, the number of runners who don’t show up is likely to be higher than in the past.

“We may lose some people who live in those outlying areas that got lambasted with the snow, but the city thankfully didn’t get hit at the same level,” said Kathy Romanowski, communications director of the YMCA of Buffalo Niagara, according to the Buffalo News.

Last week’s lake effect snowstorm blasted the city of Buffalo and surrounding areas with several feet of snow, dumping as much as seven feet of snow in some places. Over a hundred drivers were left stranded along the New York State Thruway awaiting help from rescuers, including a bus transporting the Niagara University women’s basketball team that was stranded for more than a day.

While the recent storm has made preparing for this year’s race a challenge, it isn’t the biggest roadblock in Buffalo’s Turkey Trot history. In 2000, a snowstorm hit the city just three days before race day, leaving city streets covered in snow and speckled with abandoned cars. The mayor ordered that the streets be cleared before Thanksgiving day to make the race possible.

Warmer weather over the weekend has officials fearing the possibility of a flood as snow begins to melt, but temperatures are expected to drop back down by Tuesday and continue through the rest of the week with snow in the forecast for Thanksgiving day.

More cold and snow may be on the way, but it’s nothing residents of Buffalo aren’t prepared for.

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