Friday, 09 October 2009 00:00
On Saturday, Sept. 9, Michael Brannigan, 12-year-old autistic son of Great Neck Park District Memorial Field Supervisor Kevin Brannigan, placed 58th overall (out of 4,800 finishers) with a time of 38:00 minutes in the Great Cow Harbor 10K Race in Northport. He also placed 49th overall male finishers.
The Great Cow Harbor 10K Race is considered one of the top 50 10K Races in the United States for its difficult course. Seasoned runners from all over the country and many from other countries come to this renowned race. For a 12-year-old boy to come in the top 100 overall and the top 50 males overall is an astonishing, amazing feat.
Dad, Kevin Brannigan, has worked for the Great Neck Park District for over 20 years. Mikey, diagnosed autistic at age 2, began competitively running at 7 years old with a handicapped running club called Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder is a nonprofit organization set up specifically for physically and mentally challenged athletes. They provide their athletes with opportunities to train in all aspects of running, walking and fitness, in a totally integrated environment to enable them to compete at all levels in mainstream athletic events.
Through competition, the athletes earn the respect they deserve as they develop the confidence and self-esteem that they need to be successful in life. Their mission is independence, inclusion and choice. All are welcome and encouraged to join. Their website is RTSNP.com.
Mikey has competed in over 100 mainstream races. He achieves a personal best each time he competes. This youngster has had to work twice as hard to get half as far his whole life. Through his participation in Rolling Thunder he has gained a confidence, a motivation, and a compliance to learn that was not present before. Today he excels in school and on the race course, dominating in his age group as well as overall consistently. He is a dedicated athlete and student.
Mikey’s time of 38:00 minutes in the Cow Harbor 10K race has ranked him nationally, he is now a nationally ranked runner at the age of only 12.