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Oct 27, 2013 10:56 PM by Tony Spehar -

Waldo Waldo 5k raises money for fire and flood restoration across El Paso County

Finding Waldo wasn't that hard on Sunday morning in Colorado Springs as around 2,500 people dressed-up and gathered in America the Beautiful Park to take part in the Waldo Waldo 5k.

Thousands of runners and walkers of all ages donned their red and white shirts and caps for a good cause.

"To support Waldo Canyon and have a good time and there's always a good reason to dress up in a fun costume and hang out with friends," explained participant Sarah Roark.

The Waldo Waldo 5k began in the wake of 2012's Waldo Canyon Fire to raise money for recovery and restoration work. The run has become more popular as more areas of El Paso County suffered heavy damage from wildfires and flooding from area burn scars.

"We had over a thousand people come to the event last year to raise money for the Waldo Canyon Fire relief efforts," described Chelise Foster, one of the event's organizers. "This year we're about 2,500 and we're about 50 to 60,000 so far raised for Waldo canyon Fire, Black Forest, flood mitigation and revegetation."

This year's run fell short of breaking the world record for most Waldo's gathered in one place, but did a lot to help groups like the Rocky Mountain Field Institute and the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

"We're trying to take care of what's here, get volunteers out to work on some of the flood affected trails, some of the fire affected trails," explained Susan Davies, Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition. "So we are the groups that are advocating as well as involved in the stewardship efforts to fix what's been damaged."

Sunday was a day to do what people in Colorado do best: enjoy nature, stand together as a community in the face of disaster and find a fun way to do it.

"It just shows when this city comes together, whether it's to raise money by putting on silly striped costumes or whether it's to get out there and work on trails, this city really comes together to get things done," Davies said.



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