Jeffco 5K run/walk helps raise money for Sandy Hook Elementary

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- The pain and grief many felt after watching the events unfold in Newtown Connecticut have led many to take action. In Colorado, one group extended a helping hand from 1800 miles away.

Erin Dilbeck, an Aurora preschool teacher organized an event called “Will Run for Sandy Hook,” a 5K Run/Walk to help support Sandy Hook Elementary School.

More than 200 people laced up their sneakers at Clement Park in Jefferson County on Saturday to help the cause. Organizers said 100 percent of the proceeds went toward the Sandy Hook Fund run by the United Way in Connecticut.

Dilbeck came up with the idea and posted the event on Facebook. The event received an outpouring of support from the community as well as the Boulder Running Company, who assisted in organizing the 5K.  

Dilbeck said the attack in Newtown made her feel helpless, and she wanted to help make a difference.

“We’re a state that has experienced this type of tragedy before and I knew I had to do something," Dilbeck said.

Clearly, hundreds felt the same way, and some participants even showed up to run in their pajamas.

Natasha Alkire commemorated the Sandy Hook victims by writing their names on her pajamas. She said Coloradans understand the pain felt in Newtown like few others do.

“Our state alone has been through so many tragedies, so it’s my way to support them and our community,” Alkire said.

Initially, organizers expected only a handful of supporters to participate in the race that took place near Columbine High School, but more than 200 people donated to the event, and nearly $6,000 in donations were collected by the end of the day.

“I don`t feel hopeless any more, I feel like one person really can make a difference,” Dilbeck said.