The organizers behind Castle Rock's annual Thanksgiving Day race, the Turkey ROCK Trot, are launching a new race this year to benefit people with post-traumatic stress disorder — a cause that's …
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The organizers behind Castle Rock's annual Thanksgiving Day race, the Turkey ROCK Trot, are launching a new race this year to benefit people with post-traumatic stress disorder — a cause that's personal for the family.
The first ShamROCK Stampede takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 16 in Festival Park. The event features a Kid's 1K Sham-Scram, a 5k, a 10k and a 15k Grand-Sham followed by an after-party boasting local breweries, food and live music.
Proceeds will benefit the Parker-based nonprofit Invisible Disabilities Association. The race's directors, husband and wife duo Jason and Gina Anguiano, said they chose PTSD as their cause following numerous family tragedies and to support people who often struggle with the condition, like veterans and first responders.
“I've always told Jason, if we ever did something else I'd want it to be for mental health and PTSD,” Gina said.
Gina unexpectedly lost numerous relatives in recent years.
Her mother and sister were hit by a drunken driver in 2001, killing her mother. Her brother died of heart failure roughly eight years ago. In 2014 her father died after struggling with dementia. Two days after her father's funeral, Gina's sister — the one involved in the crash that killed their mother — lost her husband.
Her sister, after witnessing her mother's death and losing her father and husband so near together, still copes with trauma from the incidents, Gina said.
“We're not experts in the field. We're not here to say we know how to cure or solve PTSD, but we know how to facilitate,” Jason said.
The couple believes their time running and growing the Turkey ROCK Trot taught them how to organize large-scale events and prepared them to create the newest race.
They are also working to start their own nonprofit, which will sponsor treatment for people with PTSD and raise money for organizations working in the field. Future ShamROCK Stampedes will benefit the organization once it's off the ground.
Until then, they are partnering with Invisible Disabilities Association. Jess Stainbrook, the vice president and operations director, said the organization raises awareness for a wide range of conditions for which symptoms aren't visible — like chronic pain, diabetes or PTSD.
ShamROCK Stampede will help support programs at Invisible Disabilities Association honoring veterans and first responders. Overall, they were eager to get involved with the race, he said.
“We knew that Jason has been basically running the Turkey Trot,” he said. “That's very successful, so we were honored to kind of step alongside them.”
The Anguianos chose to hold the race the weekend of St. Patrick's Day in part to honor Gina's brother, whose birthday fell on the holiday. They also wanted to provide Castle Rock with a health-driven event on what's often a day celebrated with alcohol.
Registration for the ShamROCK Stampede will be capped. Jason said they are still determining how many runners they'll permit, but it could be around 500 to keep in line with Festival Park's capacity.
At the last Turkey ROCK Trot, they saw 3,100 registered participants. More information on the March event is available at shamrockstampede.com.
The after-party's concert will feature a rotation of bands playing 30-minute sets. In between the shows, speakers will address various PTSD-related topics.
“We want people to leave happy, upbeat, not depressed,” Jason said, “but it's an important message we have to tell.'
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