Counting blessings, clocking miles
Michael E. Bratton II Turkey Trot returns
Continuing what has become a holiday tradition for many in Nevada County, the 17th Annual Michael Edward Bratton II Turkey Trot will be held Thanksgiving morning at Nevada Union High School’s Hooper Stadium.
The event, organized each year by a team including the late Michael Bratton II’s family, will include a 5K walk, 5K run, and 10K run.
“It’s absolutely not too late to sign up,” said Michael Bratton, the Turkey Trot’s chief organizer and father of Michael Bratton. “You can sign up online at MEB2TurkeyTrot.com, or sign up on the morning of.”
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, followed by a kids race at 8:15 with the main event beginning at 8:30. Bratton said that approximately 1,400 people have already registered for the race, however only those who were able to register before November 15 will be receiving the event’s t-shirt.
The weather is expected to be mild, with temperatures hitting the high 60s throughout the day, a change of pace from some previous years where rain, wind, and sometimes snow made for more chilly conditions.
“A lot of people come out that morning and register or just give a donation,” said Bratton. “We’ll have bagels, fruit, hot chocolate.”
Bratton added that many local nonprofits and law enforcement organizations lend a helping hand on the day-of.
“We have 150 volunteers, everyone from our friends and Michael’s friends and high school football teams and cheer teams. Sierra College, Grass Valley Police Department, and CHP is wonderful.”
Nevada Union donates use of the stadium; event crew set and clean up the area and in turn donates back to the school’s football team, cheer squad, honors club, and more. Additionally, 50 percent of funds raised go to Anew Day Counseling Services, NEO Youth Center, Bright Futures for Youth, and a number of local churches for youth support.
The heart of the race, however, is honoring the memory of Michael E. Bratton II and raising mental health awareness.
“Michael took his life at the age of 25,” Bratton said, “so we want to help people. There is hope and there are tools to use so you can turn yourself around. Doctors help, (as well as) lifestyle changes.”
The family’s goal has been to erase stigma around mental illness and offer people help in traversing what can be a painful cycle for many.
“In 2006, we were the number one county in the state of California for suicides per capita,” Bratton said. “Today we are upwards of around 20. It’s a sickness that can be treated. People should not and do not want to be ashamed of it. It’s all positive.”
Though the Turkey Trot has been going on for 17 years, Bratton said the event is still emotional for him and his family.
“It’s extremely emotional. I’ve not yet been able to hold my composure when I give my talk, and I try. I miss him and it shouldn’t have been. It was a shock because he was extremely popular and a mentor.”
With the flurry of activity leading up to and the day of the Turkey Trot, the begging question is: how do the Brattons celebrate Thanksgiving?
“We have about 25 people coming for dinner,” Bratton answered. “Everybody helps. Our family all comes and we celebrate and I try to get a nap in. The emotional part of (the race) drains you.
“It is not just to show support for mental health issues, but I get to see people I haven’t seen since last year. It’s the best way to start a truly Thanksgiving morning and to see friends and think about what you are thankful for. It’s a very generous community. I always say it’s like no other. Count our blessings.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, the national Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 by dialing 988.
To reach staff writer Jennifer Nobles email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 530-477-4232.
WHAT: 17th Annual Michael Edward Bratton II Turkey Trot
WHERE: Hooper Stadium, Nevada Union High School, 11761 Ridge Road, Grass Valley
WHEN: Thursday, November 24, 2022
INFO: meb2turkeytrot.com or call (530) 278-8361
REGISTER: meb2turkeytrot.com – $25 ages 15+, $12 children 14 and under (no t-shirts available)
Neighbors in the Grass Valley community called Cedars voiced some concern over this handsome buck with a tangle of Christmas lights in his antlers. The buck has been seen wandering around the area, and several…
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.