Running tradition: Annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot still going strong in 12th year | TheUnion.com

Running tradition: Annual Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot still going strong in 12th year

The Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot is back for its 12th installment of what has become a Thanksgiving Day staple in Nevada County.

The annual 5K and 10K fundraiser run has become a local tradition, drawing thousands of people to Nevada Union High School each year to kickoff the Thanksgiving holiday with some exercise and support for a good cause.

"It's heartwarming to see the support from the community," said Mike Bratton, whose family started the event in 2006 after Michael Bratton II took his life at the age of 25. "When there's people in trouble or there's a need, or a good cause, this community steps up."

The event has continued to grow each year, starting with 600 in 2006 to nearly 3,000 participants at last year's run.

"This is something that 20 years ago I couldn't have dreamed of being a part of," Mike Bratton said. "But when my son took his life, it changed the course of our life. It created a situation where something terrible had happened and we thought, "OK, what can we do to make his life worth more than what it was so to speak, and help other people."

Since the Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot's first running, approximately $350,000 has been raised for local nonprofits including Anew Day, which is a faith-based organization that provides healing and hope through lay counseling for those who are hurting. Funds also go to local youth activities, as well as other depression and suicide awareness and prevention causes

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"Our goal is to tell people that depression is not something to be embarrassed about," Mike Bratton said. "It's about depression awareness and suicide awareness. Suicide is not a solution to a problem. There is help out there for everyone."

Now on the precipice of its 12th running, Mike Bratton said the run is still going strong and doesn't see the event going away any time soon.

"It's important for us to keep doing it for the time being," he said. "It's kind of like something you hold on to, and don't want to let go of. But, the amount of work and tension is tremoundous to put this on."

The Turkey Trot is a massive undertaking and Mike Bratton said it couldn't be done without the support of his family, the more than 100 volunteers and more than 100 sponsors.

"We want this to be a community run, and we're so thankful for all the help," he said.

There is still time to register and there is also a walking option for those interested. Online registration is available at meb2turkeytrot.com, in-person registration is available from noon-2 p.m. Wednesday at Nevada Union's Wrestling Gym, and race-day registration will be available starting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. The race gets going at 8:30 a.m.

The Turkey Trot is also the final race in the Gold Country Grand Prix's 10-race series that began in March.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

KNOW & GO

What: Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot 5K/10K/Walk

When: Race starts 8:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Nevada Union’s Hooper Stadium

Cost: $25 for persons 15 or older, $12 for children 14 and under

To Register

Online: meb2turkeytrot.com

In person: noon-2 p.m. Wednesday at Nevada Union’s wrestling Gym

Day of: 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Nevada Union’s Hooper Stadium