- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - For Amanda Coon and her family, the Turkey Trot isn’t just a fun run, it’s a decades-old tradition that pulls her family together.

“It’s the only day that you know that all six of us will be in the same place,” she said of her parents and siblings. “We’ve had at least one member of my family in the race since 1986.”

The 58th annual Turkey Trot races are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Thursday at Mott Park Golf Course with a one- and two-mile race for children 15 and younger. The three-mile run/walk starts at 9:30 a.m.

Coon told The Flint Journal ( https://bit.ly/11hekbW ) that the tradition began when she started running cross country and she and her dad ran the race together Thanksgiving morning.

“Every year, we added one more person in the car on Thanksgiving morning when we headed to the race,” she said.

After she started running the race with her dad, most of her track team followed suit, and then so did her family - one-by-one.

“This year, we have eight out of the nine grandkids running. The ninth is only 6 weeks old, and he’ll be carried by his mom, since she will be walking it,” she said. “All four of us kids and our spouses run it, along with my mom and dad. This brings the count to 19, so I guess you could say it is definitely a family tradition.”

The annual race was nearly canceled a few years back, so Coon and her dad, Michael Gould, decided to take over so families could keep up the tradition and the track team her dad coached could still run in the race.

“Canceling the race is not an option. For my family, that would be like canceling Christmas,” Coon said.

Now, it’s the oldest consecutively running road race in Michigan history, according to a news release, and Coon said they’re expecting upward of 500 runners at this year’s event.

The race has changed over the years to be more kid-friendly, Gould said in the release. He is the race coordinator.

“We have turned this race into an event for kids to get out there and show what they are made of,” Gould said. “We want them to be proud of how hard they work in their races and that is why every finisher gets a medal.”

Registration for ages 17 and younger is $5, and for 18 and older it is $10. Everyone gets a Turkey Trot T-shirt, and all finishers get a medal.

Proceeds benefit the YMCA summer camp program and the St. John Vianney Catholic School Athletic Program.

Registration on race day is allowed, but runners should come about 45 minutes early to do so.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, https://www.mlive.com/flint

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