Turkey therapy

Runners indulged in an extra serving of their favorite dish on Thanksgiving Day after participating in the first annual Sweet Potato Shuffle.
Participants had the option of walking, running, jogging or shuffling from Independence Township Library through downtown Clarkston back to the library.
Kim Coates put together the event when her daughter, Katelyn, a 2008 Clarkston High School graduate, wanted to run in the annual Turkey Trot in Detroit.
Katelyn was injured in a car accident at the end of July. She was thrown from the car’s back seat and suffered from massive head injuries.
She has been going to physical therapy five days a week and wanted to get out and run in the Turkey Trot.
The distance of the Trot was too long for her, so Kim planned out a route in Clarkston.
The first route started from the high school through town and back to the starting point. It was four miles and still too long.
Kim routed a run from the library through downtown to Waldon Road, to Snow Apple back to Clarkston Road and back to the library. It was just the right distance at 2.5 miles.
The word spread ? Katelyn told her friends and her dad, Don posted the event on the Caring Bridge website, where they kept friends and family updated on Katelyn’s progress since the accident.
‘Katelyn said ‘I don’t want it to be about me,?? said Kim. ‘She has gotten over the accident.?
Kim planned the walk to begin at 10 a.m. so everyone had time to sleep in, time to finish preparing for the Thanksgiving feast and get home in time for the Detroit Lions football game.
‘It was unbelievable how many people showed,? said Kim. ‘We had no idea who would show up and didn’t know who still read Caring Bridge. It was nice.?
Everyone finished the run, even Don who is not a runner.
‘He would joke on the website, he would run after Katelyn made it out of the hospital,? said Kim. ‘Most people thought it was a joke when he posted the Sweet Potato Shuffle on the website.?
Katelyn finished in fourth place and her sister, Jenna came in third.
Jack Mellen made T-shirts for the event.
Kim ordered 35 and all of them were sold ? including the one off of the mannequin.
Katelyn’s friends enjoyed the event so much they mentioned to Kim that they would do it for every holiday.
While Kim may not hold the event for every holiday, she already has a few ideas for next year’s run ? including going back to the original route and starting at the high school.
‘I want to thank everyone for coming out and spending the day with us,? said Kim.
Katelyn was injured two weeks before she was scheduled to leave for Central Michigan University. The accident pushed the start date back, but she is looking forward to be at Central by next fall. She will be taking a few classes at Oakland Community College in January.