One by one, the runners padded around the final corner at Rio Grande Park on Saturday morning, past the pink portable potties, heading for the finish line of the 24th annual Race for the Cure in Aspen.
When they passed under the finish banner, pink signs were visible pinned to the backs of the runners.
The simple but powerful signs read: “I’m running in memory of:”
Katie and Debbie
With Saturday’s events a part of the fundraising efforts to fight breast cancer, some 800 participants signed up for the Race For the Cure (10K, 5K and doggie fun walk) and the Ride for the Cure.
For many, the event was personal.
“I ran in memory of my mother,” said Allan Sneider, who is visiting Aspen this summer with his family. “She passed away 10 years ago, unfortunately.”
Originally from Mexico City, Sneider and family are headed to Chicago after a long work stint in Singapore.
“It was very emotional at the start, I have to say,” Sneider said after completing the 10K. “I had tears in my eyes. I was thinking about her the whole way along. It kept the energy going.”
His wife also ran, participating in Saturday’s 5K race.
“My mother would be proud of this moment with what you’re doing here in Aspen,” Sneider said.
Sam Epsten, a 22-year-old graduate student at the University of Denver, finished in the lead group in the 10K Saturday. He’s a running regular in Aspen this summer.
“An event like this does give you something to think about,” said Epsten, who ran the Boogie’s Buddy 5 and the Aspen Valley Half-Marathon in recent weeks. “Everybody’s family has been impacted in one way or another by breast cancer.”
Epsten ran the 10K in a quick 40 minutes. Official results will be released this week.
Jenny Roberts of Snowmass Village was the women’s winner in the 10-kilometer race.
She had a late inspiration to enter Saturday morning.
“I haven’t done any kind of race since last October,” Roberts said. “I registered last night. I thought I should do this for friends and family who have gone through breast cancer.”
She said that during her run she celebrated a close friend, a breast cancer survivor since January.
“And I actually have a cousin, a gentleman, who survived breast cancer,” said Roberts, mother of a 6-year-old.
She said the race had a quick start, led by young Wheeler Feer of Basalt.
Roberts eventually settled into a pace just behind the overall race leaders.
She watched as Epsten pulled away.
Roberts described Epsten’s fast pace, then she turned to accept congratulations from a friend — a friend wearing a small pink sign that read:
“I’m running in memory of: