FLORENCE – Max Barnett wasn’t a man who sought attention or recognition.  He just gave a lot because that was his heart.  That is how Whitney Barnett, Max’s widow, aptly summed up what most people knew about him. Max passed away a few weeks ago after a three year battle with Glioblastoma (GBM), a cancerous brain tumor.  The two met in 1st grade or 3rd grade depending upon the recollection of Max or Whitney.  Suffice it to say they were together for most of their lives and married for 29 years.   

The Trax4MAX Turkey Trot 5k takes place in downtown Florence on Thursday, November 26 in memory of Barnett who was a long-time supporter of the YMCA of the Shoals.  

“This run is perfect to honor Max as he was an avid runner,” Whitney stated.  “He ran 6 miles three weeks before he passed away.  He always told me that running was his quiet time with God.  Running made him feel good and he wouldn’t let his cancer win.”

According to statistics from The Brain Tumor Charity, the average survival time for someone diagnosed with GBM is 12-18 months. Only 25% of glioblastoma patients survive more than one year.

According to Michael Bevis, business associate and best friend for over 30 years, “Max was friends with everyone, always had a smile on his face, never complained and was always looking for the next person to help.”

“Max exemplified the motto, “Never give up,” Bevis said.  He was an avid runner and was still running up until 17 days before he passed away.”

“He helped so many people and local organizations in north Alabama, Bevis continued.  “Max was involved financially, but more importantly he volunteered his time.  Two commitments that stand out were with First Baptist where he was a member and a deacon for 22 years and the YMCA where he was a board member for 17 years.”

“Max grew up playing Y ball and was honored when Charles Crow asked him to serve on the YMCA board,” Whitney added.  “This was an ideal fit for him as he always had a long and everlasting love for the Y and felt as if he could give back.

“Another story of Max’s giving was when a college student needed a new tire,” Whitney continued.  He and Brother Kevin Johnson (minister at First Baptist) took her car to get the tire fixed, and Max had them put four new tires on her car.  He knew that if it were his daughter away at school, he’d want someone looking out for her.”

The start time for the Trax4MAX 5k is 8am from the campus of First Baptist Church at 209 Walnut Street.   Race day registration and packet pickup is at 6:30am. 

Early packet pick-up is available Wednesday, November 25 from 10am-6pm at Solid Rock Running Store, 2801 Mall Rd. Suite 12A in Florence.  

Proceeds benefit the YMCA of the Shoals.  Register at https://trax4maxturkeytrot5k.itsyourrace.com

The cost is $30 - 5K or the 1 mile fun run.  Registration for either includes a long-sleeve shirt.  Long sleeve shirts are available for purchase alone for $20.  Participation in a Virtual 5K option is $10 with all the details on the website.

There is also more information on Facebook at Trax4MAX or YMCA of the Shoals.

“I’m so thankful that he asked me to be his forever,” Whitney said in closing.  “I’m the lucky one and comforted knowing that I’ll see him again one day!  Max won!”