The more than 12,000 runners who took part in the 121st annual YMCA Turkey Trot in downtown Buffalo couldn’t complain too much about the weather conditions for a change.
While Thanksgiving often throws the participants an odd combination of nature’s forces, Thursday’s run was almost mild. Temperatures were above freezing, the morning rain had stopped, and winds were not an issue. Maybe that contributed to a memorable men’s finish.
Chad Maloy of Buffalo came through to win the event. He finished in a time of 24 minutes, 46 seconds for the 8-kilometer (just under 5 miles) course. That was good for a three-second win over last year’s winner, Michael Thielman of Manassas, Virginia. Jake Krolick of Arcade finished third.
The women’s race wasn’t as close. Jennifer Boerner of Lancaster took her first Turkey Trot title with a time of 28:38. That was almost a minute ahead of Elizabeth Paddock of Missoula, Montana. Kim Vona of Angola finished third.
Maloy’s performance was part of a memorable year for the local runner. Back in April, the Canisius College grad student became the first local runner to finish a 10-kilometer collegiate race in under 30 minutes. In 2015, Maloy was the first Canisius runner to ever take the individual title in cross country’s National Catholic Championship.
As for Boerner, the 34-year-old became the back-to-back champion in The Buffalo News’ Runner of the Year series, which concluded for 2016 with the Turkey Trot. Entering the race she had a one-point lead over Vona, and her win combined with Vona’s third-place finish gave her a four-point victory. Allison Carr was the last repeat winner, taking three in a row from 2009 to 2011.
There was no drama in the final event of the men’s competition in the News’ Runner of the Year series. Pete Gratien of Tonawanda had clinched the title earlier in the season. Gratien did not take part in the YMCA Turkey Trot this year.
The race represented a milestone for Jose Quiros of Medina. He became the first area runner to take part in 200 different races in a single year.
The event raised more than $300,000 for the YMCA Buffalo Niagara.