If you’ve ever considered running a marathon—or part of one—Denver’s homegrown Colfax Marathon should be on your short list. The only full marathon in the city of Denver, the 13th annual Colfax Marathon, took place on May 19 and 20 with over 19,000 runners participating. The event included a full marathon, half-marathon, 10-mile course, 5K, and a relay division.
This year over 1,250 relay teams participated in the marathon on behalf of corporate or government entities, and many ran for charitable causes. Over 75 runners this year ran in support of the Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation, including a group of 40 from UCHealth and the CU Cancer Center.
Ray of Hope provides cash grants to cancer patients experiencing financial difficulty to be used at their discretion. Jamie Bachman, the executive director of oncology services at UCHealth, sits on the board of Ray of Hope and has been organizing teams of runners for the last several years.
“Because so many people working at our cancer center have cared for patients who have been touched by this foundation, it’s been fun for me to organize them around the cause,” said Bachman. He estimates about half the runners on his teams —including himself—come from Stapleton and Park Hill, as many on the team work at the Anschutz campus.
And the need to raise money is real. “Roughly 26,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the state of Colorado,” Bachman said, “And probably at least one-third of people diagnosed with cancer have had financial difficulties directly related to that.” In the first quarter of 2018, Ray of Hope provided cash grants totaling $78,000 to 153 individuals with cancer across Colorado.
This year, UCHealth and the CU Cancer Center fielded eight teams of five runners that included doctors, nurses, administrators, a dietitian and a chaplain. Runners ran a leg of the race measuring between 4.5 and 6.5 miles, and many met up at the Ray of Hope tent at the finish line to swap stories.
Each of the last two years, team members have raised over $5,000 for Ray of Hope through soliciting donations to the foundation for their efforts. The Colfax Marathon also donates $100,000 in 60 separate award categories, which UCHealth Ray of Hope teams have benefited from in the past by winning their division.
To support the Ray of Hope Foundation through the UCHealth and CU Cancer Center, you can visit their Colorado Gives fundraising page at www.coloradogives.org/UCHealthForRay. Or consider grabbing your friends or co-workers and setting up a team of your own.