BOULDER, Colo. — Thousands of BOLDERBoulder participants were thrilled to have the race back in-person this year for the first time since the pandemic. For one family, the race was all about resilience and recovery.
Robert DeBarros has been running the BOLDERBoulder since 1994. He said running is his passion, and he started bringing his daughter Elyse to the race when she was 8 years old.
In addition to participating in the race, the two also worked as volunteers in the morning, helping with security.
“Part of the reason we volunteer is just because we love this community so much and we feel like it's the least we can do," Elyse said. “I feel like the spirit of the people watching and everything gives you a lot of energy."
The two said races like the BOLDERBoulder inevitably teach a variety of lessons along the way.
“Teaches you all about endurance, and the Marshall Fire is a long race," Robert said. “We came back. We didn't have a house. And we didn't know what was next. We had no idea.”
The DeBarros family was one of hundreds whose home burned in the Marshall Fire. Elyse said the hardest part was losing the memories they shared in their house.
"We're still dealing with it, and I think the loss of a place of home is more important to me than the things we lost," Elyse said. “It's a loss of feeling, connected to the place you're living.”
The sense of connection to her home is something that cannot be replaced. However, the DeBarros found a sense of community through support they received after the fire.
“It's so important to celebrate what the community has done to support each other," Elyse said. “Everything is temporary and your connections in life are really the most important. I'm so grateful for that new perspective.”
Elyse said running the race, surrounded by her community, meant more to her than words can express.
“I couldn't ask for anything more," Elyse said. "I'm so happy we get to run today.”