Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).
Spring is a busy time for avid road runners thanks to the Runnin’ of the Green 7K that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, the Colfax Marathon races that typically are held the Sunday after Mother’s Day, and the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day.
My favorite stretch of races happens in August, though. One is the Evergreen Town Race along Bear Creek from Upper Bear Creek to Evergreen Lake. Following that is the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon, which parallels Clear Creek just far enough away from Interstate 70 to feel peaceful and isolated. Not to be overlooked is Boulder’s Pearl Street Mile. All three typically happen within days of each other.
This year the Evergreen Town Race 10K and 5K will be held on Aug. 7. The course is beautiful, with a fair amount of shade. It’s known for exceptionally fast times because the 10K drops more than 470 feet and the 5K drops 240 feet. Some people like to do the ETR 10K to get a fast qualifying time for the following year’s Bolder Boulder.
Those aren’t the only reasons I love the ETR. There’s always a fun party at the finish with great food, the T-shirt designs tend to be better than what most races offer, and the race benefits the Alpine Rescue Team which conducts searches and rescues in Clear Creek, Gilpin and Jefferson counties. As a mountaineer and backcountry skier, I love supporting the hard-working volunteers who routinely brave harsh and dangerous conditions to save lives. As usual, Flight for Life will do a flyover at the 10K start and then land at the finish, giving kids a chance to get an up-close look.
The Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon has received national recognition in running publications because of its wonderful setting. It begins at an elevation of 8,460 feet near Georgetown Lake and finishes near the ballfields on the eastern edge of Idaho Springs at an elevation of 7,550 feet. You will feel the altitude on rare sections that briefly slope uphill, but for the most part the 900-foot elevation drop over 13.1 miles mitigates the altitude effect.
And while runners are seldom far from I 70, they rarely notice. What they do notice are rugged canyon walls, anglers fishing the creek and the overall beauty of the course.
Both are point-to-point races that utilize shuttle buses to get runners to their starting lines, so you’ll need to study the race schedule when formulating your pre-race logistics.
There’s one other race in August that I highly recommend: The Pearl Street Mile in downtown Boulder on Aug. 6.
The Pearl Street Mile is a Saturday night community happening for Boulder that attracts elite runners and just plain folks running laps around the Boulder County Courthouse and on the Pearl Street Mall, usually in front of 2,000 spectators. To accommodate large numbers on a tight course, there are 12 waves beginning at 5 p.m. and concluding three hours later. The top men’s wave is for those who can run sub-5 minutes per mile, and the top women’s wave is for those who can run 5:45 or better.
Pearl Street used to be a midweek race, which made it easier to combine with one or both of the other races. Now, though, Pearl Street is the night before the Evergreen Town race, so it’s more practical to run Pearl Street or Evergreen that weekend and follow it up with Georgetown the following weekend. Whether you pick one, two or all three, you won’t be disappointed.
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