The sun shone brightly on the Nevada Union’s Hooper Stadium for the seventh annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot, which honors the life of Michael Bratton II who took his own life in 2006.
“We don’t celebrate what Michael did. Michael’s choice was not a good choice,” his father Michael Bratton said. “We talk to people every day of every week and every month with depressive issues and life hurts, and that’s what this turkey trot is all about — a run and a Thanksgiving morning to be thankful for — but it is also about sharing the story that depression is something that can be helped through treatment and counseling and medication. It is not something to be ashamed of or hide from. It is something that all of us need to be aware of and reach out and help.”
Shauna Kavros, who participated in the race, said she supports the cause, as losing someone through unforeseen events is something she can relate to personally.
“It’s such a good cause,” Kavros said. “Michael Bratton is very dear to my heart. Due to circumstances, it relates to home.”
Zoey Mclarty from Grass Valley participated in the event again this year after returning from college.
“It’s fun and a good cause,” Mclarty said. “It’s kind of been a tradition for a lot of people from the community.”
The funds from the $25 registration fee for the event are completely donated to faith-based counseling group Anew Day and school programs, including the athletics and cheer departments at Nevada Union.
“This run also gives back, not only to Anew Day but to Nevada Union,” Bratton said. “Every penny goes back. There’s no paid positions here, and this is an awesome opportunity in our community to reach out and help.”
The race is also the last in the Gold Country Grand Prix where runners are awarded a certain number of points for each race.
“This is a Grand Prix event with 10 runs throughout the community, and a lot are racing points, and this is the last race,” Bratton said.
John Wiley, a visitor from New York, won first place in the 10K run. “It was fun,” Wiley said. “It was a well run race and a nice course.”
Grass Valley native David French won the 5K race in 17 minutes, 26.8 seconds. He left shortly after the race was over in order to get to Tahoe for Thanksgiving, according to his friend and Nevada Union cross country teammate Kael Newton.
Eighteen hundred people registered for the event with even more serving as volunteers and viewers.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Bratton said. “There’s been a great turnout. It’s been wonderful.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4230.