Track team plans emotional tribute for BolderBOULDER

Posted at 8:56 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 00:35:54-04

BOULDER, Colo. — A track team struck by tragedy twice is planning a moving tribute during the BolderBOULDER. 

Teammates at Peak to Peak Charter school train together and through unbelievably difficult times they've had each other. The team was at a cross country meet in September 2016 when 18-year-old Brandon Ries collapsed during a run. 

His team found ways to honor his memory throughout the season especially at one of his favorites races, the BolderBOULDER. Last year the race retired his bib number for a fellow teammate to wear during future races. Before his bib could be used, tragedy struck the team again.

Coach KimMcConnell's husband, Ed, collapsed in January while he was out for a run. 

"Everything is emotional, all the firsts and this is the first BolderBOULDER without him," said Kim McConnell.

They always used to run the race as a family. Her daughter, Quinn, who is also on the team has been running it every single year, but this year she is planning to pay tribute to her dad and Brandon.

Quinn will be wearing Brandon's bib on the front of her shirt. On her back, she'll wear another bib with pictures of her dad and Brandon

"To have the responsibility to carry both of their pictures will just remind us of the lives that they had and just the beauty that they found in everything especially in a place as gorgeous as Boulder," said Quinn McConnell.

Her mom said the team had been a lifeline for their family during this difficult time. During the race the team will run together, honoring the memory of two incredible people.

"People have said to me gosh, I don't know how you can just even go to work and go coach, and I think actually these kids have saved me in some ways," said McConnell.