The Evergreen Town Race is back after a two year hiatus, and the Alpine Rescue Team is getting support from a climber rescued nearly a year ago.
The downhill race takes place Aug. 7 with the 5k starting at 8 a.m. and the 10k starting at 8:45 a.m. The course is on Upper Bear Creek Road, and runners will be bussed to the starting line starting at 6:30 a.m.
The race being all downhill yields fast finishing times. In fact, the fastest 5k time recorded in Colorado was at the Evergreen Town Race in 1998 by Jason Hubbard with a time of 14:07, according to race coordinators.
The race is a yearly fundraiser for the Alpine Rescue Team, a search and rescue team headquartered out of Evergreen. The all-volunteer search and rescue unit has been around for over 60 years, and handles missions in Clear Creek County, Jefferson County and Gilpin County.
John Wells has been a member of the team for 35 years. He moved his way through the ranks of the team and was an operations coordinator for years. As he’s gotten older, Wells has moved into an administrative role where he helps manage events like the town race.
Wells has put in countless hours on the Alpine Rescue Team over the years.
“I think I’ve been on just shy of 600 rescues in my career,” he said.
He said with the dangerous nature of many of the rescues, they are not soon forgotten. But the main thing that kept Wells going as a team member through the trauma was reuniting families.
“As a team member you get a lot of satisfaction….you’re a part of bringing families back together,” he said.
The Evergreen Town Race is the biggest fundraiser for the Alpine Rescue Team. Due to the nature of the group, there is not much extra time for events between training sessions and rescues.
Kelly Brown, a corporate event planner based in Evergreen, is stepping in to help the group this year. She has a special bond with the team —they saved her life back in September 2021.
When climbing Mount Bancroft with friends nearly a year ago, Brown misstepped and was rolled onto the rocks.
“It was a life changing day for me that day,” she said.
The Alpine Rescue Team spent hours getting her safely off the mountain and to the hospital, where she underwent multiple surgeries for her broken leg. Brown has spent the 11 months since the incident in physical therapy rehabbing the injury.
After the team rescued her, Brown decided she would give back to them. As an avid outdoors person, Brown has done many races. When she decided to set her sights on the Evergreen Town Race, she knew it would be pivotal in her recovery.
“I’ve had a lot of finish lines in my life…long distance, iron mans, marathons; they were just races. This is an exclamation point on a moment in my life. It's going to be an emotional day,” she said.
Not only will Brown be running the race, she’s putting her professional expertise to use and helping to organize it as well. She felt it was a natural way to give back.
“They are volunteers and they go in precarious places and save lives…planning a race is not what they would do everyday,” she said.
Brown said giving back to the team and getting to know the community even more through planning the race has been a silver lining.
“This is the good that’s coming out of that bad day,” she said.
Registration for the race is open until 11:59 a.m. Aug. 6. Dogs and strollers that can make it on the bus to the starting line are welcome in the race. Upper Bear Creek Road will be closed from HWY 74 all the way to the top from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Aug. 7. There will be no parking available at the starting line. The finish line is near the lakehouse, where there will be food trucks, vendors and more for racers to enjoy.
Register for the 5k and 10k at evergreentownrace.org.
Busses for 5k participants will depart from Wilmot Elementary from 6:30-7:30 a.m., and until 8 a.m. from Xcel Energy Frontage Road for the 10k. If you miss the bus, you miss the race!