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Hundreds run in Veterans Home Run 5K, more than two months after it was postponed by fire
In late June, the air in Colorado Springs was thick with smoke – hardly ideal for running a 5K.
“Everyone was complaining, saying their eyes and lungs were burning,” said runner Paul Mann, 35. “Running was difficult. You had to go run the treadmill.”
So while the Waldo Canyon fire was tearing through the foothills, organizers of the 7th Veterans Home Run postponed the race until September.
Mann is glad they did. He used the intervening months to train, and Saturday he ran away with it on a flat course through Monument Valley Park, finishing in 17 minutes and 24 seconds. The next unner was nearly 2 minutes behind.
“I didn’t have anybody pushing me. I just kind of cruised,” Mann said.
Race director John Cornick said the event raises an average of $5,000-$7,000 for the Crawford House, a Colorado Springs facility for veterans with substance abuse problems. There were 163 runners Saturday. Another 48 walked in a 3K.
On June 30, the event's original date, many runners and volunteers were evacuated from their homes, he said.
“Their lives had been disrupted. They had other things to worry about,” Cornick said.
Travis Tabares, 34, came in second at 19:08. But his 12-year-old daughter Kayli was hot on his heels, finishing just 20 seconds behind as the top female runner.
“My goal is just to beat her,” Tabares said with a laugh.
“I feel good about it,” Kayli said of the run. And her 10-year-old sister, Jalynn, wasn’t far behind, finishing as the third-best female runner at 22:27.
Said Travis Tabares, “We all run together. They both run track at the middle school. They keep very active.”