Cancer League of Colorado's
21st Annual Race For Research 5K Run/Walk
Sunday, August 20, 2017

In memory of Michele Plachy-Rubin

Register for 2017 race now »

Washington Park
1700 E. Louisiana Ave.
Denver, CO

How It Started

Michele Plachy-Rubin was a young wife, mother and kindergarten teacher in the Denver Public Schools when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in December of 1996. The Race for Research was conceived by Michele's friends to raise money to fund local cancer research. Tragically, Michele lost her fight with cancer in May of 1998 but The Race for Research continues as an opportunity for men, women, and children to help fight cancer in Michele's memory.

While the race initially began in memory of Michelle, her mother, Sondra surprisingly was diagnosed with the same type of brain cancer which was not genetically related.  Sondra has received treatment for the past 3 years and the race means a lot to her.  Sondra adds, " What is amazing to me is that many of the drugs that helped me were not even available to Michelle 15 years ago.  They were in trial.  Drugs have changed, treatments have changed, and technologies have changed because of research.  I never dreamed how important this race would mean to me personally."  Cancer touches everyone. We all benefit from new treatments and approaches to cure or control cancer.  Funds from Race for Research go directly to cancer research in right here in Colorado.

Watch this Amazing Video from 2016 Race for Research Honoree:
Matthew Murray

Matthew's Story

In March 2014, while at baseball practice after school, my son, Westminster High School Freshman, Matthew Murray began experiencing double vision.  I took him to the Eye Department at Kaiser the very next day.  The eye doctor was not concerned, citing, Matthew didn’t have constant double vision nor was he experiencing double vision while being examined.  She sent us home with instructions for Matthew to wear his glasses to give the contact lenses a break.  Within 12 days, at a double-header against Valor Christian High School, Matthew’s double vision became constant.  Again, I brought Matthew back to Kaiser to see the same eye doctor.  At this appointment, she acted and sent us immediately to the Kaiser facility at Exempla Good Samaritan to see their eye specialist, Doctor Thayi.  A scan of Matthew’s head was completed.  The very next morning, while at work, I received a phone call from Doctor Thayi’s assistant, Skeeter.  She said, “I don’t mean to alarm you, but your son has a brain tumor!”  I was directed to retrieve the scan and pull Matthew out of school and respond immediately to the Emergency Room at Children’s Hospital.  A subsequent MRI revealed Matthew had a rare and fast-growing brain tumor called Germinoma.

Matthew endured extremely difficult Chemotherapy treatments at Children’s Hospital, to which, Doctor Foreman (head of the Neuro/Oncology Department) and his team said Matthew’s was one of the worst cases they’ve encountered.  Amongst other complications, Matthew developed an allergic reaction to a Chemo medication being administered.  As part of the 6-month treatment plan, Matthew also completed 5 weeks of Radiation treatments.  We’ve come to consider Children’s Hospital as our “home away from home”. 

Throughout this extremely difficult journey in his very young life, Matthew continued to play baseball for Westminster High School, Shaw Heights Little League, Thunder Baseball Fall Ball, and Jefferson Academy Legion Baseball…………with double vision!  Although he missed the last 2 months of his sophomore year due to Chemo treatments and extreme side effects, Matthew continued to excel academically.  He was recognized for excellence in Academics.  In addition, Matthew was only 1 of 2 sophomore students placed in Chamber Orchestra, the most advanced class.  For his efforts and dedication, Matthew lettered in Orchestra.  He also registered with the C.U. Succeed Program and Pre-Collegiate Development Program. 

Matthew’s goal in life is to play for the Colorado Rockies. As a matter of fact, once he came through from his brain surgery (biopsy), the first words out of his mouth were, “How are the Rockies doing?”  Additionally, after learning of his Cancer diagnosis, Matthew set out to find his first job at Adventure Golf and Raceway in Westminster.  He worked there throughout his treatments to the extent possible, and he continues to be in their employ. 

My son continues to win battles.  He truly is an inspiration to me and his older brother, Anthony.  Matthew’s motto is, “You can’t control what happens to you in life, but you can control how you handle it.”  Now a junior at Westminster High School, Matthew is enrolled in A/P and IB classes, and the Pre-Collegiate Development Program.  He earns college credits for these classes.  Matthew continues to excel and earn letters in Academics and Orchestra.    

To date, Matthew has undergone two eye surgeries in hopes of repairing his double vision caused by the brain tumor. 

Matthew will continue to go to Children’s Hospital for follow-up MRIs and Lumbar Punctures every 3 months.  With Cancer, there are no guarantees, but we continue to hope and pray for positive outcomes and results.

If you would like to follow Matthew’s journey with Cancer, please visit his page (MMurray) at

Who Benefits

Cancer touches everyone.  Innovative treatments and approaches to cure or control cancer benefit us all.  Funds from Race for Research go directly to cancer research right here in Colorado.  For example, Race for Research has funded research on pediatric brain tumors and preliminary work in cancer vaccinations.

Cancer League of Colorado was founded in 1969 by five women whose lives were affected by cancer.  From their individual struggles grew a joint commitment to raise money for innovative cancer research and patient care within the state. This all-volunteer charity organization became Cancer League of Colorado.  Since 1985, we have awarded over $10 million in research grants and cancer-related services.

Each year, funds are distributed for research grants and program services. Research grants are peer-reviewed by our Scientific Advisory Board.  Generally, 85% of the monies raised are awarded for research grants; the remaining 15% are awarded to cancer-related program services.


Click here to learn more about Cancer League of Colorado »

Who Participates

Participants have ranged in age from one to eighty-one and have included doctors, nurses, teachers, families, runners, and walkers of all abilities, as well as Michele's friends and family. Everyone is welcome! Organizers of this year's Race for Research expect 1,000 participants and 55 volunteers at this year's event.

After the Race enjoy our Family Festival with pancake and sausage breakfast, live entertainment, prize drawing, kiddie area with kiddie train, clowns and games, and Sponsor Expo with free product samples. 

Our event is pet-friendly. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome. Dog water will be available at the on course water stations, the Finishline and in the Beer garden. 

How you can help

Here are some ways to increase your support for cancer research:

First, register for the race!   Register today »

  • Start a Team and sign up as many friends and family as you can.  They can join you in the race or "Sleep in for Research."
  • Take the challenge and set up a fundraising page when you register. You can raise funds as a team or individually and win great prizes.
  • Donate and make a difference!  Donate now » 
  • Honor someone's battle with cancer with a poster on Morton's Miracle Mile - cost $150. Click the Fundraising tab at the top for more information. 
  • Tell all your followers: 

Join our winning team!  Since its inception, The Race for Research has been an incredible success. Over the past 16 years, Race for Research has raised over $1,000,000 thanks to thousands of racers and generous sponsors and donors!


To commemorate the 20th Annual Race for Research, the first 1000 racers to complete the race will be presented with a keepsake finishers medal & the first 300 survivors to check in on race day will receive a Survivor Sticker!

Team Awards:

Largest Team  -The team with the largest number of paid participants will be awarded the traveling team trophy.

Largest team Cancer League Membership - This new traveling trophy will be awarded to the largest team organized by a Cancer League member.

Fundraising Awards 

We will  recognize the top three teams and the top three individuals who raise the highest donation amount for Cancer Research. 

First place receives a Karcher Window Vac andOur Fundraising awards this year are sponsored by Karcher and Comedyworks at Landmark. VIP passes for 4 to the Comedyworks

Second place receives VIP passes for 4 to the Comedyworks 

Third plsce receives VIP passes for 2 to the Comedyworks 


Performance Awards

Trophies- The top 3 males and top 3 females, overall,  will receive simulated bronze trophies designed by Niels Anderson(see above), plus a certificate from Runners Roost; 1st Place certificate for a pair of Shoes, 2nd Place winners $50 gift cert, 3rd place winners $30 gift cert.

Medals- The top male and female finisher for the 5K run in each of the age categories listed below will receive a special Race For Research medal plus a $25 gift Certificate from Runner Roost.

Thanks to Runners Roost Denver for sponsoring our Runners prizes. 

12 and Under

2016 Race Results »