Detroit Turkey Trot runner to hit 50-run milestone in memory of his grandmother

Brad Kloha meets halfway point of 100 runs in honor of his grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease
Brad Kloha

For Central Michigan University division administrator Brad Kloha, running the Detroit Turkey Trot Nov. 28 is about more than personal fitness — it’s about reaching the halfway checkpoint of his Run To Remember initiative, Kloha’s personal mission to run 100 races in 52 weeks to spread awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and raise $1 million for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Kloha, a Freeland native who has already completed 49 races since June, says even though his body has taken a beating, he has not lost his resolve.

“What gets me through is knowing why I’m doing it,” he said.

“I know the emotional pain and hardship that families currently watching their loved ones battle the disease are going through right now. Whatever pain or exhaustion I might be feeling pales in comparison to that. If I ever need more encouragement, that’s what I think about.”

After losing both his grandmother and great-grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease, Kloha combined his passion for races and his passion for spreading awareness to run for something he says “is about more than just myself.” Now, Kloha is preparing to run his 50th and 51st races in Detroit this week to end the first half of his journey and begin the second and final phase of his Run To Remember project.

He says hitting the halfway mark on Thanksgiving is a particular milestone for him and his family, for the holiday marked the turning point in his grandmother’s 13-year battle with Alzheimer’s back in 2005.

“That Thanksgiving, she had been cooking stuffing on the stove and forgot about it,” Kloha said. “She left the pot on the stove and ended up burning down her home.

“It was that moment where we realized the disease had progressed to the point where she was a danger to herself. Hitting this milestone on that same day in her honor makes this race even more special for me.”

Kloha says at many of the races he travels to across the nation — including races in California, Vermont, Oklahoma and Florida — he is asked how he manages to be prepared for each new challenge while working fulltime at CMU. He responds that the university has been a big supporter of his mission and works with him to follow his dream.

“A lot of my passion for doing something on such a grand scale like this comes from my experience as a student at CMU,” Kloha said. “Being involved in the Leadership Institute and Greek Life, I was always encouraged to dream big. As an employee, that’s carried over.

“People have been so supportive of my project. The people at the university work with me to give me the days off I need to travel to my races while spreading the word and supporting me in any way they can.”

As he prepares to start the final round of his 100-race journey, Kloha says he has yet to think about what he will do once he finishes his last race. With just a little more than $17,000 of his $1 million goal raised, he does not believe the monetary donations will determine the success of his project.

“A million dollars can go a long way, but it’s a drop in the bucket toward spreading awareness and finding a cure for the disease,” Kloha said. “At every race, I get to talk to people and share my story. But, most importantly, people talk to me and share their personal stories.

“I know at the end of all of this, I’ll be able to look back on Run To Remember as a year I dedicated my life to something I’m really passionate about. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see that I helped create greater awareness and impact for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as helping those caring for a loved one with the disease or someone currently battling the disease.”

For more information on Run To Remember, or to donate to the cause, click here.

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