DENVER - Amanda Teves says she feels really alone in her grief.
She survived the Aurora Theater shooting. The love of her life Alex Teves did not.
He died protecting her.
Amanda ran the Colfax Half Marathon Sunday. Some family members of other victims were by her side.
Each mile was dedicated to the 12 lost. On Sunday Amanda wasn't alone. It was a good day.
Read Amanda Teves: Honoring love, one mile at a time
Amanda Teves has a deep and personal connection to the 13.1 miles of the Colfax Marathon. In 2011 Alex Teves cheered her on at the finish line and later told her that's when he fell in love.
Alex and 11 others were killed inside the Aurora Theater in July 2012. Alex and Amanda didn't have a chance to get engaged or married. But she feels so strongly about their love, she legally changed her last name to his last summer.
Last year Amanda ran the half marathon on a whim, dedicating each mile to the 12 people lost.This year, she put a little planning into it.
"It's very personal for me," she said. "This race is. And these beautiful 12 people are very personal to me."
Sunday morning volunteers, families and friends of the other victims joined Amanda in her effort once again - to run each mile for the 12 victims.
"Last year was really cool for me because I would put their shirt on and I would talk to them. I would pray and I would think about their families and my life and what I want to do with the life I've been given," Teves said. "It was just really peaceful and I don't have many of those days or those moments. I'm really hoping this is similar for you guys [and] that you remember these people. Maybe you'll be able to heal from whatever heartache or whatever difficulty you're dealing with."
This year, Teves is dedicating mile 8 to first responders.
"I think about them all the time. So many wonderful people helped me," she said.
Every mile, every victim, every special person has a ribbon with their name.
"We're putting them on the runners' shoes," said Caren Teves, Alex's mom. "It's just a beautiful reminder, to give them a tangible reminder as well of the race."
Several family members and victims' friends ran with her, including Gordon Cowden's daughters.
"It's just a wonderful feeling to get to do something for him," said Kristian Cowden. "[I] feel like we really came out here to support him and his memory."
Micayla Medek's mother, Rena, didn't run. But she came out to volunteer and be a part of Amanda's effort.
"I think it's really nice," she said. "It's honoring each one."
As Amanda ran, she said she thought of the people she was dedicating every mile to.
When she got to mile 8, at Aurora Fire Station 1, she was overwhelmed. Cheering firefighters, police officers with signs and a motorcycle escort were there to show support.
"It is a beautiful day. It's nice to offer support to someone in the community who cares about the responders and who is worried about their recovery as well," said Captain Diane Lord, spokesperson for the Aurora Fire Department.
Lord also ran the mile with Amanda to show support.
"This is weird, because most of the time I feel so alone in my pain and stuff. And this is unbelievable," said Teves, while running with firefighters.
Mile 12 was the mile for Alex Teves. It was the hardest for Amanda and the Teves family.
Alex's father Tom also ran the course Sunday. Mom Caren was there to greet Amanda at the mile marker.
"Her story and Alex's story is truly a love story. But what people I think should know about this is just because someone is taken, doesn't mean that the love story ends," she said. "Love is just forever."
Crossing the finish line was emotional. But ended a run that made for a rare good day.
"It's just so special, so personal," Amanda said. "We don't have to shout to the world that we love and remember these people. But we can do it together, as a group and as a community. And that speaks for itself and it's beautiful. I'm so happy. I'm happy. I don't say that often. I'm happy today. Yeah!"
If you want to join Amanda in some way, even though the actual race is done, you can contribute to the Alex Teves Foundation. It provides scholarships for students with unique academic, social and emotional needs at Humanex Academy. Alex spent a lot of time doing individual, group and crisis counseling there.
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