DENVER (KDVR) — As thousands took on the 2023 Colfax Marathon races, stories of strength and determination took on new strides this year.

“There are literally miracles that happen here, and I hope to be one of them,” 5K finisher Matthew Isaacson said. 

Isaacson didn’t think taking on the 5K was even a possibility for him just months ago.

“I have a fake knee and a steel rod down to my ankle,” Isaacson said. 

Isaacson has called Harbor Light — a men’s shelter run by the Salvation Army — home for four months now. He’s staying at the shelter as he fights through recovery following the death of his son.

“I was in long-term recovery, I lost my son two years ago,” Isaacson said. “I fell off, obviously, and this place saved me once again.”

Isaacson completed his race Saturday, accomplishing his goal with his boy in mind.

“I was definitely thinking about him, Monday is going to be two years exactly, so he was in my heart today,” he said. 

Joe Victor’s baby girl was on his mind Sunday while tackling the half-marathon.

“She’s young, but I’ll tell her when she’s older that it’s just all about wanting to push myself, to see if I’m capable of doing this,” Victor said. “I’m very excited for the challenge.”

Victor takes on the half-marathon going on six months sober.

“It’s being able to push myself to the unknown and do the things that I need to do to stay sober,” Victor said. 

Part of Victor’s sobriety journey has been living at Harbor Light shelter while training for the race.

“I’ve been working really hard,” Victor said. “I’ve been training about four days a week, running.  Before I could maybe run a mile, and now I’m up to 10.”