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At Turkey Trot 5K, ‘People Come Together For Good Things’

Katie Zwald poses for a photo after finishing first in the E2M Turkey Trot 5K on Friday. Photo courtesy of Turkey Trot 5K Facebook page

LAKEWOOD — Katie Zwald of Jamestown, the top finisher in the inaugural E2M Turkey Trot 5K road race, is a familiar name in local running circles, so the fact that she was the first to cross the finish line Friday morning was hardly a surprise.

But for the estimated 150 participants who turned out for the non-sanctioned event in the village it wasn’t about where they placed or how fast they ran because nobody truly cared. Instead, the day after Thanksgiving was meant to reinforce the “Reason for the Season” by providing toy and monetary donations to four area elementary schools.

And, according to organizer Brad Barmore, a physical education teacher at Sherman Central School, the run went without a hitch.

“Today went really well, so far so good,” he said as he stood at the four corners of the village. “I’d love to do an annual thing. I’d like to do it a couple more times a year, raise awareness for fitness, health and wellness, and then give back to people who are in need.”

Barmore admitted he didn’t know what the event would look like in the midst of COVID-19, but it really gained momentum a couple of weeks ago, sponsors jumped on board to help, the village of Lakewood gave a thumbs-up, and social distancing was observed before and after the race.

E2M Turkey Trot 5K organizer Brad Barmore gives pre-race instructions. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

“People come together for good things,” he said. ” … People have been very supportive.”

The Turkey Trot was in association with Jeff Witherspoon of E2M Personal Trainers and through the sponsorship of Tim Hortons, Triple E Manufacturing & Design Inc. and Group Ther-Happy.

“A lot of kids don’t have a lot, especially around the holidays,” Barmore said. “This year, people are losing their jobs or not able to find jobs. It opened my eyes to a whole new level of poverty. … I’ve been fortunate in my life. My parents have been really good to me, my family has been good to me and the community has been awesome to me. It’s the least I could do.”

The beneficiaries of the community’s generosity — “We’ve got thousands and thousands of toys,” Barmore said — are Sherman Central School, Southwestern Central School, C.C. Ring Elementary School in Jamestown and Randolph Academy.

“I like being kind of like Santa Claus,” Barmore said. “I don’t need to be in the spotlight, but I enjoy giving to the kids.”

Runners take off from the starting line at the E2M Turkey Trot 5K, which was held in Lakewood on Friday. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

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