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5 questions with John Brackney: Lifelong area resident runs for clean air

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When it comes to giving back, John Brackney knows a thing or two. A former CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and two-term Arapahoe County commissioner, Brackney is a regular at the Run the Rocks 5K at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

This year, he participated again in the event, which raises money for the American Lung Association in Colorado, an organization that supports research and programs to battle lung disease. Brackney is the director of public policy and community engagement for Webolutions, a digital marketing company, and has sat on the board of directors for the Colorado ALA for the last four years.

The Centennial resident answered some questions about his experience running for a cause and a little about him.

What led you to participate in Run on the Rocks?

I have run more than 100 races in my life, and Run the Rocks is one of the best races for several reasons. First, the cause — 100 percent of the money, after race expenses, are a direct contribution to the ALA in Colorado. Second, the natural beauty. Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Park is one of the most beautiful races in the world ...  third, difficulty. This is one tough race — two miles down and one mile up for the 5K, and in the instance of the 10K, same course but adding four out-and-back hills onto the 5K race. I have run (the event) eight years in a row: last two years the 10K and the previous six years the 5K.

The mission of Run the Rocks is to create awareness of the importance of clean air for those suffering with lung health as well as healthy individuals ... On race day Oct. 8., it was my 804th consecutive day of running, all outdoors.

What story about lung disease stuck with you the most?  

Think the most poignant was this year, when a young man walked up to me at the end of the race while I was sharing a beer with friends and told me that the number I was wearing was his favorite number. I looked down to see what it was — 42? “Yep, that's the age of my father when he died from lung cancer, and I think fondly of him whenever I see that number.” His name was Peter, and he came out to honor his father's early death while he was a freshman in high school.

You run with others at the event. How would you describe your team members for the race?

We have a mix of teammates on Webolutions Revolutions, and our team has ranged between 20 and 50 people for the last three years. Our team is fairly reflective of the almost 1,300 people in the race. Most have some connection to a lung-health issue, either personally or with a family member, although we have some members of our team who are simply superb athletes, runners, trail runners, climbers and hikers who appreciate clean air that the American Lung Association advocates for.

How long have you lived in Centennial?

Born and raised in unincorporated Arapahoe County, which is now in the City of Centennial. I have lived in the same neighborhood in Centennial my entire life (age 51) with the exceptions of college and law school. Mom still lives just a block away, and our daughters, Taylor and Jordan, attended the same schools that I did: Peabody Elementary School, Newton Middle School and Littleton High School.

How have you given back in Centennial?

I was elected as an Arapahoe County commissioner in 1996 and served two terms. I was a founder of the City of Centennial with four others and hundreds of volunteers and served on the Charter Commission. I also served as the CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber for a decade.

All successful businesses give back to their communities that they serve in. We extensively had projects at the chamber (including the founding of Centennial, prior to my time at the chamber) and we do so at Webolutions — our outdoor adventure team, Webolutions Revolutions, has scores of teammates who regularly get together to promote good health and participate in a community race.

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