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Aug 18, 2013 7:18 PM by Tony Spehar -

Running and recovery in Manitou Springs

Sunday was a day of running and recovery in Manitou Springs as the city hosted the Pikes Peak Marathon while wrapping up clean up from recent catastrophic flooding.

According to marathon organizers 800 runners ran up and down America's Mountain as part of the race. The sound of fans cheering runners filled Manitou Springs along with non-stop traffic. For Kimberly Breazier, an employee at Lane Mitchell Jewelers, it was almost hard to believe that just days ago the city was digging out from devastating flooding that struck on Aug. 9 and destroyed multiple structures and killed a Teller County man.

"I'm telling you everybody just all came together and just got her cleaned-up because we knew we were going to have this marathon this weekend," Breazier described. "We were going to continue on with the marathon because that's just the way Manitou is."

Amazingly much of the clean up work had been done before the marathon, areas that were once covered with inches of black mud swept from the Waldo Canyon burn scar where clear on Sunday. Of course, physical and emotional scars still remained.

"We lost the back stairs to the deck, the deck is still there but the back stairs are gone," Breazier said of the damage to the Lane Mitchell building. "We just want it to stop, it's time to stop."

The marathon provided a much needed boost to business and morale, especially to shops like Good Karma Coffee which had been closed down due to flood damage. A sign in front of Good Karma announced the weekend as a "grand re-opening."

"Yesterday was our first full day open since the flood and the evacuation and they closed us down," explained Manager Hannah Kosobucki. "With the marathon this weekend we've had a lot of traffic come in and out of here, yesterday was great."

The work of hundreds of volunteers helped Good Karma and other businesses on Canon Avenue, one of the worst hit areas, open up for the big weekend.

"Gosh the water and mud was higher than my head," Kosobucki described. "It took a lot of mucking out, bucket brigade, it was crazy."

There's still a lot of work to be done and dust to be swept away. But Manitou Springs, like a marathon runner, will keep moving forward.

"We're really strong knit here, so I feel like this is going to kind of be the new normal, hopefully not," Kosobucki said.

The crowds that showed up helped dimish some fears that tourists, a vital part of Manitou's economy, would be frightened away by the threat of flooding and many said the quick clean up was a mark of the solidarity of the community.

"It just shows that people are courageous," Kimberly Breazier said.

Volunteer organizers say clean up work will continue and they need more volunteers and supplies which can be dropped of at the Business of Art Center at 515 Manitou Avenue.



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