Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Turkey Trot to raise money for local mother

(Originally published in the 11/18/15 edition)

   On Thanksgiving morning, First Street sporting apparel store The Run House will be hosting its second annual 5k Turkey Trot at the Benicia State Recreation Area. The event will benefit Teri Epperson, a local woman battling a rare form of cancer. 
   Epperson has been heavily involved in the community, both as a preschool teacher and a member of the Benicia Moms Group. Additionally, her husband Matt works as a firefighter for the Moraga Orinda Fire Department. Epperson’s kind personality has made her popular with both communities.
   “She’s a really nice person,” Run House co-owner Holly Potter said. “You don’t have to know her very long to be able to realize that.”
   Epperson was diagnosed with a small intestine cancer last year, and it has reached its aggressive fourth stage. To help raise money for medical support, The Run House hosted its first Turkey Trot last year. 
   “We did the run last year to raise money for her and her family just to support their medical needs and to show community support for the family,” Potter said.
   Potter and her husband and Run House co-owner Michael opted for the event to be nonprofit, with all the proceeds coming from people’s donations. The donations will go toward medical costs to help Epperson.
   “The idea was to have a Thanksgiving run without having to pay registration fees,” Michael said. “It will give people something to do on Thanksgiving morning, but it will have a purpose as well.” 
   The run was a success, with 125 people signing up and $2,600 raised, Holly said.
   “There was no registration fee, and people just donated on their own,” she said. 
   Holly said that even Epperson participated in the run last year, where she walked for 50 seconds and ran for 10 seconds for the whole 5k.
   “She was able to complete it and carry on with her chemo sessions,” she said.
   This year will be similar to last year, with Gatorade and light refreshments being served and a Turkey Trot souvenir for participants. As a new addition, the Potters are encouraging people to bring instruments like maracas, tambourines or bells to carry so participants can make music just by running.
   “Through the gentle stampede of all the people, it will sound festive,” Holly said. “I just want to make it as festive and happy as possible.”
   Furthermore, a small potted pine tree will be put up  for friends and family to help decorate.
   “Her friends can write on a Christmas ornament for her,” Holly said. “There will be plain ball ornaments with Sharpies to write some sort of positive message to her, thanking her, telling her how they’ve been inspired by her and her family.”
   People can sign up at The As of press time, 94 people have signed up for the event. Holly says there is no cutoff to sign up, but she encourages people to do it as soon as possible.
   “Last year, people mostly signed up three days before the event,” she said. “Since there’s no registration, there’s no cutoff to sign up, but we want as many people to come as possible. If people know they’re going to do it, we’re encouraging them to sign up so we can know how much water and refreshments we need.”

   The 5k Turkey Trot will be held 7:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 26 at the Benicia State Recreation Area. Participants should meet at entrance located on the corner of Military West and K Street. A $20 donation is asked per adult runner. For more information, contact Michael Potter at

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