My Y Story: Buddy
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“I found that running to help another runner can be just a joyous as running for yourself, maybe more.”
For Buddy, the YMCA Turkey Trot is so much more than just a race; it’s a way for him to come together with his community for a common good. “I’ve signed up for 16 Turkey Trots. There’s nothing more exhilarating than to wake up early on Thanksgiving morning with my family and join thousands of other fired up people running together to support the scholarship program of the YMCA for needy children, and simply be the wonderful Western New York community of good neighbors that we are,” he says.
Running for nearly two decades, Buddy takes part in both half and full marathons, completing 20 so far. Even with all his experience, he says there’s something special about the YMCA Turkey Trot. “The Turkey Trot is my short fun race. I normally complete my half and full marathons by early November, so the Turkey Trot is my ‘victory lap’.” Over the years, Buddy has finished among the first 1,000 runners, and even finished in the top 500 a few times. Aside from the actual race, he says he enjoys the sense of community the YMCA Turkey Trot encapsulates. “I love all the interesting people and costumes and the fact that our Turkey Trot is the oldest consecutively run race in the country.”
Buddy has many fond memories of the YMCA Turkey Trot. It’s a family tradition, as he and his wife run together every year. “When they are able, our son Dan and daughter Bethany and her husband also join us. It’s always fun,” he says.
Buddy says every YMCA Turkey Trot experience is unique, but there’s one memory in particular that he will always remember. “I noticed a young girl was standing near the front of the starting line all by herself, looking around nervously. I asked her if she was okay. She said her parents were in the back, having sent her to the front because she was faster than them. I told her I was a minister and she said she went to Westminster Presbyterian Church. I told her I was a good friend of her pastor Tom, also a runner. With that connection established she told me she wanted to run under 40 minutes, and I told her I planned to do the same. And then she asked me if she could run with me, so I paced her. One mile in I asked how she was doing and she said she thought she was going to be sick. So, I said we’d slow down a bit. I could see she was upset so I told her I would stay with her. She thanked me, and I was even more determined to help her meet her goal. As we came to Niagara Square I knew she could do it. She stayed right with me and we crossed the line in 39:45. She did it and she was thrilled. After crossing the finish line, her parents came up and she told them I had helped her. I found that running to help another runner can be just a joyous as running for yourself, maybe more.”
Buddy encourages anyone who can to take part in the YMCA Turkey Trot. “Being with 14,000 neighbors and friends in an incredibly joyful atmosphere will transform your Thanksgiving Day,” he says. “For one thing, it is for a good cause. I always get a high that never leaves me the entire day. There is no other running experience more enjoyable than the Turkey Trot.”
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