It has always been a family affair for Daniel Cane.
It started in 1979 when he was in New York City visiting siblings.
“I looked out their apartment window early in the morning, and there were people running,” Cane said. “Oh, it’s a race!”
That caught his attention and seemed like something he’d like to try.
“Running wasn’t a big thing when I was a kid,” said Cane, who lives in Depew. “I played baseball, basketball, football, but I started running just for fun. It’s a great time.”
Running is such a good time that he keeps coming back to the annual YMCA Turkey Trot. This year, Cane will be running in his 36th Turkey Trot.
Cane is one of 320 members of the race’s Quarter Century Club, open to anyone who has completed 25 or more YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trots. The VIP Reception and Quarter Century Club were introduced in 2005 with 34 charter members. More than 30 names will be added this year.
While Cane’s interest in running was piqued by that visit to New York City, he first entered the Turkey Trot to run with his friends from his old neighborhood.
“A couple of kids from grammar school that I grew up with decided to run it,” Cane said of his introduction to the race. “We’ve done it many years together. I really enjoy it.
“You don’t have to be an elite runner to run the Turkey Trot. You can be a plodder, like me. There are plenty of walkers also in this race. And all age groups. You’ve got kids 6 or 7 years old to senior citizens doing this. It keeps bringing them back.
“It’s more of a family event now. Families are getting their kids involved and they’ve made it a whole morning tradition. That’s what I think is the best part of it – family. I get to see people I haven’t seen for a long time.”
It’s a family affair for Cane, as well, as his two sons have run various Turkey Trots with him. His wife is the transportation vehicle, making sure Cane and whomever he happens to see gets to the starting line for the race and back to his car after the post-race party.
And then there’s the running family you create out on the course, usually out of complete strangers.
“One thing about runners, they don’t criticize other runners,” Cane said. "We’re all out there. If some older man is out there, I think, ‘I hope I can do that as his age.’ If I see a woman struggling, I say, ‘Don’t worry. You’re out here. All your friends are probably sleeping.’ I tell people they’re doing a great job. You try to encourage people.”
Through his 35 years of running the Turkey Trot, Cane has come to dislike slush over very cold temperatures. The worst part about slush is that your feet get wet and can never get warm again. Cold temperatures just mean adding layers.
His favorite part of the course is “when you hit North Street and it’s all downhill,” Cane said. “That’s the best part. The crowds get thicker toward the end of the race, too, and that’s a great feeling.”
Races within a race
The third annual Santa Dash 5K on Dec. 7 is offering a different twist this year. Along with the usual route and awards for the top three finishers in 15 age categories, the race will have two interesting trophies to present.
First up is the Doughnut Cup Challenge, which will pit police officers from various law enforcement agencies. The winners claim the Doughnut Cup Trophy for a year.
Second is the First Responder Challenge, which will include Fire, EMTs and medical professionals.
The race benefits the Niagara Police Athletic League.
For additional information go to www.niagarapal.com, call PAL at (716) 286-7038 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marathon adds fund-raiser
The Buffalo Marathon has announced a program for Heart to Heart Fundraisers in which runners can run the half marathon or full marathon for $25 if they pledge to raise at least $500 for cardiac cancer research. Proceeds will go to the Kaleida Health Foundation to benefit the cardiac programs at Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, according to a news release.
Fundraisers will be provided a personal page to accept donations and a custom heart to heart shirt and can win prizes for reaching certain fundraising levels.
The half marathon and full marathon are both May 24. To register and for more information, visit https://buffalomarathon.org/.
Thursday, Nov. 28
- 124th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot, 8K, 9 a.m., Delaware Avenue YMCA, 2564 Delaware Ave.
Saturday, Nov. 30
- Home For The Holidays, 5K, 9 a.m., Orleans County YMCA, 306 Pearl St., Medina.
- Tacky Sweater Run, 5K, 9 a.m., Palace Theater, 2 East Ave., Lockport.
Saturday, Dec. 7
- Niagara PAL Santa Dash, 5K, 9 a.m., Sheraton At The Falls, 300 Third St., Niagara Falls.
- Holly Jolly, 5K, 10 a.m., The Orchard Fresh Plaza, 4050 N. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.
Saturday, Dec. 21
- Caroler 5K Run, 9 a.m., The Irishman Pub & Eatery, 162 Main St., East Aurora.
- Holiday 5K at Old Fort Niagara, 11 a.m., Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown.
Tuesday, Dec. 31
- New Year's Eve 5K, noon, Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown.