Giving Back to Colorado

On December 31, 2017, tragedy struck Colorado. Five deputies were ambushed. Deputy Zackari Parrish, a young husband and father, was killed and four other offices and two civilians were injured. The outpouring of support from the community was unrivaled. This tragedy awoke a community who was looking to pour forth their support. They wanted the opportunity to give back to the first responders, who put their lives on the line for us, each and every day. 

A deputy’s wife, Erin Dilbeck, was heartbroken and suggested a 5K be organized to raise funds for the fallen officer’s family. She was quoted as saying, “This time though, it’s not about the miles, as much as the moment to say: We will get through this one step at a time.” Stridemob, an event management company in Castle Rock, CO reached out to Erin and offered their help.

The Zackari Parrish 5K, Back the Blue event, took place less than three weeks later. Registration on ITS YOUR RACE sold out in four days, at  3,000 people. The race was scheduled to begin at 9 am. The interstate was so backed up in both directions with people  pouring into the venue, that the start was delayed a half an hour. Deputy Craig Reams sang the National Anthem, Erin Dilbeck spoke, followed by Deputy  Parrish’s wife, Gracie. Stridemob kicked off the race as usual with high fives all around, a motivational quote and a “family picture” to capture the moment. 

This race was unique. Elite runners were asked to start in wave two, while wave one was reserved for first responders and their families. The  finish was a sight onlookers will never forget. Deputy Dan Brite was shot on September 2, 2016 and given a 1% chance of survival. He  completed the course in a wheelchair, but chose to publicly walk the final 100 yards for the first time on his robotic legs. Dan, surrounded by  family, friends, and the community, walked across the finish line. $80,000 was raised for the Parrish family and the Douglas County Fallen Officer Fund. On that day, in words and deeds, everyone “Backed the Blue."