Michael McBride pounded his way through the 13-mile half marathon, a black metal cart hitched to a harness he wore trailing behind him like a rickshaw.
Four small gray oxygen cylinders were suspended between the cart's bicycle wheels and green tubing pumped air through his nostrils to his battered lungs.
"As long as I'm moving, they can't bury me," said McBride, 55, who was diagnosed with emphysema three years ago.
He was one of more than 2,400 runners who registered for the half-marathon, the most popular event of the Colorado Colfax Marathon, Half-Marathon and Relay today. A total of 5,216 people registered in all three races.
It took McBride and his 100-pound load three hours and 50 minutes to make the run from City
He runs with his cart, built by an engineer friend who designed a suspension system that keeps it from pushing him downhill, 3 to 6 miles a day Monday through Friday. He takes longer runs on the weekend.
The event was McBride's 25th half-marathon. "It is always hard. But it gives me a reason for my training. If you have lung disease, (running) is the best thing you can do for it."
The barrel-chested McBride has always been physically active, but didn't start running until he was diagnosed. "I was one of those people who go to the gym three days a week and smoke on the way home."
Despite his illness, he had more success than some. At least one man collapsed, falling in a heap beside a sound system blaring Oil's "Beds are Burning," about 100 yards from the finish line.
Supporters lined the path toward the finish where tents beckoned sweating runners into the cool shade, and volunteers handed out sports drinks and water.
For some the grueling run was a family event. Peggy Panzer, 46, started the half-marathon with her husband, Keith, 49.
The pair met 10 years ago at a
The Colfax event was Keith Panzer's 221st long-distance race. He has competed in marathons in all 50 states.
But on Sunday, he dropped out at 10 miles. "I wasn't feeling very well. It is just a challenge, but it is discouraging as I get older."
Peggy, who had a time of three hours and 17 minutes, won second place for women in her age group.
Sean Clifford, 36, was a member of a five-member relay team, "Wheels of Justice," made up of present and former members of the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.
His wife and children met him at the finish line. As he pushed a stroller toward a spot where his teammates were reliving the race, he said he was feeling wrung out.
"Hopefully my wife will let me take it easy this afternoon," he said.