Record turnout expected for Turkey Trot 2013 |

Record turnout expected for Turkey Trot 2013

Paricipants in 2012 Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot are shown. This year's event will take place Thanksgiving Day at Hooper Stadium at Nevada Union High School.
John Hart/ | The Union

Know & Go

What: 8th annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot

When: 7:30 a.m. Thursday (Registration: 7:30 a.m.; Kids race: 8:15 a.m.; 5K/10K race/walk: 8:30 a.m.)

Where: Nevada Union High School’s Hooper Stadium, 11761 Ridge Road, Grass Valley

Why: The MEB2 Foundation sponsoring Anew Day, local youth activities, suicide and depression awareness

Cost: $25 for participants 15 and older, $12 for children (14 and younger)

Info: or call 530-273-0521 or 530-913-3782

Mike Bratton says he’s been watching Thursday morning’s weather window for more than a month, hoping rain forecasted as recently as last week would fall by the wayside, rather than on Nevada Union High School’s Hooper Stadium and the eighth annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.

“It looks like we’re catching a break,” Bratton said Tuesday morning. “It looks like maybe a bit cloudy, but probably a lot like today.”

Truth be told, trotters have turned out in record numbers every year for the 5K/10K race, even in 2011 when 1,500 participants braved cold rainy conditions.

Last year, under sunny skies, nearly 1,800 were on hand for perhaps western Nevada County’s most popular participant sporting event, which is hosted in memory of Bratton’s son, who took his own life in 2006 at the age of 25.

Proceeds from the event are entirely donated to community programs, with funds raised directed to Anew Day, a faith-based nonprofit therapy organization, local youth activities and an ever-growing number of local organizations.

“I think No. 1, it’s grown because of the community support around Michael and for our family,” Bratton said. “Also, it’s the message on depression and suicide prevention — we’re still the leading county in terms of suicides per capita (in California), and that’s not good. But through Anew Day, we’re saving lives, turning lives around.

“And on top of that, it’s just a fun event, where you see people you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a great way to start Thanksgiving off with a smile on your face, by seeing so many people you know. It’s like a mini reunion.”

And it appears another record turnout is on tap for Thursday, as 1,500 runners/walkers have preregistered for the eighth annual event, which Bratton said is an increase of 400 participants in comparison to this time last year.

Of course, the sporting aspect of the Turkey Trot is also a substantial draw. As the final leg of the Gold Country Grand Prix series of races, there’s still room for runners to climb the series standings.

“Another reason it continues to grow is that it’s part of the grand prix, which has grown as well,” Bratton said. “It’s the culmination of those races, the last race of the year.”

Such growth in participants, and volunteers, has Bratton particularly excited about a pair of new partnerships that are likely to also make a large impact in the community. For the first time, non-perishable food donations will be accepted for the Interfaith Food Ministry at the event.

“Just think if everyone brought something to donate,” Bratton said. “Actually if only 30 percent brought something, that would be huge.”

Another group with a mission aptly aligned with the Turkey Trot’s cause will have information available at its booth.

“Helping Teens Live The Lives They Deserve: What’s Up? Wellness Checkups” are being offered to all students on site at Nevada Joint Union High School District schools. The checkups include a free, voluntary emotional health screen, as well as follow-up support for teens and their families in connecting with community resources.

Checkups screen for suicide risk, depression, substance abuse and other emotional health challenges.

“In such a critical time as adolescence, we hope to provide initial prevention and support to those students who need it,” case manager Jen Rhi Winders said.

Parent consent packets are available online for the screenings at More information is also available at 268-5854 or

To contact Editor Brian Hamilton, email or call 530-477-4249.

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