The annual Turkish Trolley at Atlantic Beach honors the legacy of the late Dr. Leon Haley, Jr..

The annual Turkish Trolley at Atlantic Beach honors the legacy of the late Dr. Leon Haley, Jr..

Atlantic Beach, Florida. Hundreds of people in Atlantic Beach on Thanksgiving have started running – as part of Turkey’s 7th annual Tony 5K Brain Injury Awareness Festival.

The race at the Beachestown Center in Atlantic Beach on Thanksgiving morning honored the legacy of Dr. Leon Haley Jr., the former CEO of UF Health who died in the WaveRunner accident in South Florida in July.

Mayor Ellen Glaser and the City of Atlantic Beach proclaimed November 25, 2021 as “Dr. Thanksgiving Day Leon L. Halley Jr. 2021.”

UF Health hosts the annual event with the Tony Meduri TBI Fund to advance brain injury awareness and comprehensive care for brain injury survivors in a Northeast Florida community.

Haley has been committed to reaching out to the community and in previous years has raced 5K, speaking and handing out medals at the finish line.


Before the advent of turkeys, hundreds of people were jogging through the beach town center of Atlantic Beach for Tony’s Turkish trot.

“This is the only way to start Thanksgiving here at the beach running a turkey trot. It’s awesome,” Shelley Sharp said.

Some people wore costumes.

“We just like to go down and see all our friends and see all the costumes, what people are wearing and how happy everyone is to start the day off,” Erica Hoffman said.

Michael Brethwer dressed up as a turkey. He said it doesn’t help with his performance.

“Actually, I’m running a little slower,” Brethour said.

Christian Murdock, 11, had big plans after the 5km race.

“I’m going home and having Thanksgiving dinner with my family,” Murdock said.

The contestants said it’s worth it, the calories burned before the turkey.

“We’ll eat more pie,” Sharpe said.

Tony’s Ski 5 km race was held in Turkey on Thanksgiving morning in 2015. Since then, the event has tripled in size and has been voted the best in 5 km beaches. In 2020, UF Health Jacksonville and The Tony Meduri TBI Fund Inc. The event is with some modifications to ensure the safety of the runners due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these security features are still in effect this year.


To find out more information about the event, visit

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