Turkey Trot Live Event Frequently Asked Questions

What is the YMCA Turkey Trot?

Known to be the oldest consecutively run footrace in North America, the YMCA Turkey Trot is an 8K (4.97 mile) Thanksgiving Day tradition that attracts runners of all ages and abilities to the City of Buffalo each year. To add to the excitement, many participants choose to run in costumes.

In light of today’s pandemic, YMCA Buffalo Niagara realizes that the delivery of a traditional 14,000 in-person Turkey Trot will not be possible this year. Instead we plan to commemorate the YMCA Turkey Trot’s milestone 125th consecutive start with a live small-scale celebratory race in accordance with all COVID-19 Health and Safety regulations. A virtual option will also be offered to give all loyal past participants and friends the opportunity to run virtually (but together) on Thanksgiving morning.


How do I get entered into the live race selection process?

To be considered for selection into the live race the following eligibility requirements must be met:

  • Prospective entrants must be 18 years or older and a resident of Western New York.
  • Prospective entrants must have the ability to complete 8k on foot in under 60 minutes.
  • Prospective entrants must register for the virtual race no later than Friday, September 25th, making sure to select the live race opt-in option on the online registration form.
  • In addition, all entrants must complete and sign a COVID-19 health survey confirming no recent travel outside of NYS, no recent contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19, etc.
  • Prospective entrants will also commit to fundraising a minimum of $1,000 by November 1, 2020 to support YMCA Buffalo Niagara.
  • The random selection process will take place on Monday, September 28, 2020. Those selected will receive a reserved entry via email to be completed within 48 hours.
  • Detailed instructions regarding pre-race arrival times and race logistics/procedures will be provided to each participant once the reserved registration is completed.

How much is it to register for the race?
$125 per person. The non-refundable registration fee includes all online processing fees, a commemorative t-shirt, face mask, and medal. (The pre-paid $35 virtual race fee will be deducted from the overall race fee.). In addition, entrants must also commit to fundraising a minimum of $1,000 by November 1, 2020.

What does my registration fee help to support?
Your participation in the YMCA Turkey Trot helps fund YMCA programs that empower youth, improve community health, and ensure access to all. YMCA Buffalo Niagara is a charitable, community-based organization dedicated to strengthening the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Proceeds raised from the YMCA Turkey Trot play a vital role in helping youth, families, and seniors access the resources that help them to learn, grow, and thrive.

What can I expect on Race Day?

  • In-person participant capacity is set to 125 participants – in honor of the Turkey Trot’s 125th anniversary.
  • Participants will be divided into waves of 15 runners. Each wave will have a specific start time.
  • All participants will be required to adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines from the time they arrive and until they depart the Delaware Family YMCA.
  • Upon arrival, each participant will be required to show proof of ID. At that time, a health screening and temperature check will be conducted.
  • Participants will receive their race bib once they have been cleared to participate.
  • Participants must present their race bib to race officials to gain access to the start line area.
  • Participants will be required to wear a mask from the point of arrival until their wave starts. Anyone failing to adhere to mask and social distancing guidelines will forfeit their entry.
  • Masks can only be removed once the wave starts and when/if proper social distancing is achieved. The mask must be replaced immediately whenever spacing among fellow participants requires and upon crossing the finish line.

If I cannot make the race, will I be issued a refund?
Sorry, all registration fees (virtual and live) are non-refundable.


When and where does packet pick-up take place?
Packet pick-up for the live race is available 6:00 am – 8:00 am, Thanksgiving morning ONLY at the Delaware YMCA – 2564 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216. All entrants must complete and sign a COVID-19 health survey confirming no recent travel outside of NYS, no recent contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19, etc. Temperature checks will be taken at check-in.


When does the race take place?
The event is held every Thanksgiving morning. This year’s race takes place Thursday, November 26, 2020. Specific start times for each wave will be assigned once the waves are confirmed.

What is the race route?
The race course is a looped 8K (4.97 mile) route that begins and ends at the Delaware Family YMCA.  A map will be provided.

What time should I arrive on the day of the race and where do I check in?
Each participant will receive their specific arrival time once the waves are confirmed. To ensure all proper health and safety protocols are maintained, we ask that participants plan ahead to arrive promptly at their assigned arrival time.

Will there be water handed out anywhere along the course?
Water will be available only at the finish line. There will be no water stations along the course.

Is there assistance available if I can’t do the whole course?
Yes, there will be a trail bus following the end of the race pack which can transport you to the finish line. Paramedics will also be on hand at the finish line to assist as needed.

Will bathroom facilities be available before the race?
Port-o-potties are available at the Delaware Family YMCA on the north side of the building. No one is permitted to enter the Delaware Family YMCA for any reason. Hand sanitizer will be available.

Can my family/friends come to cheer me on?
To ensure all proper health and safety/social distancing protocols are maintained, spectators will not be permitted anywhere along the course or at the Delaware Family YMCA.

Like our virtual participants, in-person entrants will have the option of using the RaceJoy app to track their race. Their cheering section can also download the app and use it to track their favorite entrant as they run and even send them cheers.

Can I arrive early or stay after my wave to cheer on other waves?
To ensure all proper health and safety protocols are maintained, each wave of participants is to arrive no earlier than their assigned arrival time and depart the race area immediately after they pick-up their refreshments.

Will there be a Costume Contest again this year?
The costume contest is taking place virtually this year, but live participants are encouraged to participate. To enter the contest, live participants can take a photo of themselves in costume at the live event and post to the YMCA’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #TurkeyTrot125.


Where may I park on race day?
Street parking is available in surrounding parking lots near the Delaware Family YMCA. Due to the race route modifications, shuttle service will not be needed nor provided.


Where do I go after I cross the finish line?
A contactless grab and go refreshments station will be set-up outside the Delaware Family YMCA (i.e. pre-packaged water/fruit/yogurt). Once finishers have collected their refreshments, they will be directed to leave the area immediately to ensure time for proper sanitization of the area prior to the next wave.


What race awards are given out for what categories?
Awards will NOT be handed out this year. In addition to bragging rights, each live participant will receive a commemorative 125th Turkey Trot t-shirt, face mask, and finisher medal.

For more information on this year’s race, please call the YMCA Turkey Trot call line at (716) 565-6000.