Niles-Buchanan YMCA Day Run
10K—7:45am start), 5K and 1 Mile Kids Run—9:15am start
“There is such a great energy to walk through a crowd that is getting ready to run.”
After months of preparation, Nile’s Thanksgiving Day Run race director, Jill Haboush, loves the culmination of the day and her own tradition of working her way through the thousands of runners and walkers and clicking pictures of the friend groups, families and annual participants.
“The event draws in so many from so many states,” Jill said. Last year, more than 2,000 participants representing 31 states filled the street next to the Niles-Buchanan YMCA and this year, Jill said, the registration trend indicates even higher numbers. They run whether its warm or cold, sunny or icy, because they are home for the holiday. “This has really become a family tradition for all of us. People scatter in their lives, but they come home for family.”
Jill always keeps an eye out for a few participants in particular, like Charlie Fry, Jerry Hoffman and Bob Smola, who have each run in to every race for the past 36 years. There is also Mary Pipher, a marathon runner, who has made all but one and who created the beautiful race T-shirt quilt displayed each year in the YMCA lobby.
Furthermore, it’s just pretty cool to see all the clever, festive and wide array of outfits donned by the participants, Jill said.
The 10K, 5K and Kids 1 Mile Fun Run are back to their original routes now that bridge construction is completed. With 125 volunteers helping out with everything from packet pickup to course direction, and 50 reserve police who help keep the course safe, Jill is grateful for one other tradition she is able to fit in – to run. “Now that’s pretty cool,” she adds. There are the families who come out and don’t run. Their holiday tradition is to volunteer as a family, serving food, manning water tables, working directional signs and ringing cowbells. Even the DJ team is a father-son duo, volunteering each year to handle announcements and music.
Chemical Bank returns this year as the premier sponsor with many other community businesses joining in with support. The Niles-Buchanan Thanksgiving Day Run supports the Y’s annual campaign which supports youth programming as well as financial support to families through membership scholarships.