Back the Blue 5K run in Douglas County attracts big turn-out

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- So many people showed up for the first ever Back the Blue 5K run and walk in Douglas County, that organizers had to delay the start of the event because traffic backed up while people were trying to get there.

An avid runner and part of the law enforcement family, Erin Dilbeck decided the best way to help a grieving community is to "run with it." That's what happened Saturday morning.

Inspired by the sacrifices of Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish and Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm, and their fellow officers behind the badge, she organized the first Back the Blue 5K run/walk to benefit the Fallen Officer Fund and the Parrish and Gumm families.

The plans for the run started coming together before the death of Heath Gumm, but it now honors both men.

"I want you to run and enjoy this day," Gracie Parrish, Zack Parrish's wife said. Gracie thanked everyone for the support over the past month.

A tear-tugging moment came when Douglas County Sheriff deputy Dan Brite crossed the 5K finish line on his new robotic legs.

The Douglas County deputy was shot in the line of duty Sept. 2, 2016 while responding to a report of a suicidal man with a gun near Sierra Middle School and Parker Adventist Hospital.

Merchandise to support the family of the fallen deputy is available online.


The event was at the Douglas County Event Center in Castle Rock from 9 a.m. to noon. Organizers delayed the start about a half hour because of the large turn-out.

Dilbeck's husband is a Lone Tree police officer. The mother of two came up with the idea and others caught on quickly.

She said running has taught her about preparation, perseverance and payoff.

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.

You can donate to help the fallen officers funds and Parrish and Gumm families: