When JT Forsyth shot past the finish line at the Harbin Clinic Turkey Trot 5K & Health Wobble, it was only 17 minutes and 56 seconds after he started. Later at the awards ceremony, Forsyth grinned with a medal around his neck, holding his trophy and a frozen turkey up high as he was named the overall winner of the race.

Forsyth was just one of more than 500 people who ran and walked a scenic course near Sam Smith Park in Cartersville on November 17th for the race that benefited the United Way of Bartow County. It was a fun, brightly colored turkey and Thanksgiving-themed affair for the community.

A 14-year-old Woodland High School freshman, Forsyth said he runs for fun, but also considers it a part of his plans for the future.

“I started running and training in middle school and I keep trying to get faster. Today was great,” he said of his time.

“This race is amazing,” he says. “I’ve been doing it ever since I was in 5th grade and it’s so much fun for a great community cause. I thought it was awesome that this year there were turkey-related jokes all throughout the course.”

Forsyth is referring to signs scattered alongside the race course with phrases and riddles including, “What’s the most musical part of the turkey? The drumstick!” and “Last one to the finish line sits at the kids table!” and also “Why did the turkey cross the road twice? To prove he wasn’t chicken!”

If you’ve ever ran the Harbin Clinic Leprechaun-a-thon or the Harbin Hero Hustle in Rome, you’ll know those fun race signs are a signature of Harbin Clinic 5K events. This was the first year that Harbin Clinic was the named sponsor of the 13th annual Turkey Trot, and registration numbers reached a record high.

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Before Harbin Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jason Andersen gave the signal to runners to start, he thanked everyone for coming out and showing support for the cause.

“We at Harbin Clinic really appreciate the Bartow community’s participation in the Turkey Trot, and also in supporting Harbin Clinic’s mission to promote health and wellness throughout the region.”

Harbin Clinic Family Medicine Cartersville physician Dr. Donna Gregory (left) and President of the United Way of Bartow County Brenda Morehouse congratulate JT Forsyth, a 14-year-old Woodland High freshman who finished first in the Harbin Clinic Turkey Trot with a time of 17:56.
Racing for a Reason

Brenda Morehouse, president of the United Way of Bartow, said the proceeds from the race benefit several causes throughout the area.

“When money comes into the United Way for special events, it’s distributed amongst our 14 partner agencies,” Morehouse explained. “There are several non-profits in Bartow County that benefit from that, including the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Advocates for Children and our local Boys and Girls Club, just to name a few.”

Morehouse and her United Way colleagues were thrilled with the event turnout on a beautiful, but cold morning.

“It’s really great to see this many people out here. It’s amazing that no matter how cold it is, they all still want to come out and run the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It helps get you in the holiday spirit.”

Harbin Clinic physicians and employee show off their turkey grins at the Harbin Clinic Turkey Trot 5K & Health Wobble
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is an award-winning journalist who values every chance to flex her creative writing muscles for V3. A healthcare marketing professional by day, Lauren thrives in the creative arts as a dancer, a radio, stage and film actress and director of commercial and creative video projects. She lives in Rome with her husband Michael and their cats Stella, Bella and Beauregard.