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Szuch family shines in Evergreen Town Race 5k

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By Tim Donohoo
For the Courier
Aug. 4 was a great day in the lives of the Szuch family of Evergreen.
Caroline Szuch, 40, was the master’s female overall winner in the 5k portion of  the Evergreen Town Race which supports the Alpine Rescue Team.  She crossed the finish line near Evergreen Lake in 19 minutes, 26 seconds.  
Nearly one minute earlier, 11-year-old Colin Szuch dominated the U-12 male division with a time of 18:19. Alayna Szuch, 9, took the U-12 female division in 19:49.
The 5k and 10k course passed down Upper Bear Creek and was a fast downhill course within an extraordinary setting. Nearly 1,140 runners and walkers participated in the festivities.
The Alpine Rescue Team of Evergreen is a mountain search and rescue unit dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue and mountain safety education. Formed in 1959, Alpine’s budget is constantly battling with rising costs and dwindling sources of revenue. Donations from the public are encouraged to ensure that the team continues to meet the demand of 24/7 search and rescue operations.  
Alpine responds to nearly 100 mountains rescue calls annually, aiding hundreds of people per year and impacting the lives of thousands the past 54 years.
Denver native Lonnie Cruz, 30, ran away with the male 30-39 division with a time of 15:49. Cruz won last month’s Mt. Falcon 15k in Morrison and once again continued his winning ways in Evergreen.  He will compete at this weekend’s Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half-Marathon.
Former University of New Mexico runner Leslie Luna, 27, of Evergreen won the 5k female overall division, motoring through the course in 17:01. She enjoyed her first trip around the Evergreen circuit this year.
“It was a great course.  The course became harder when it became flat.  But the last mile is the hardest because you are suffering,” Luna said.
Luna, a physical therapy major at New Mexico, runs about four to five times a week. She has been dealing with achilles tendon problems, however, she wants to continue running like she did in college.
Pat Hunt, 35, of Lakewood, was the first male across the line in the 5k portion of the event. Hunt has had stress fracture issues.
“This is only my second race of the year. I am trying to get back into race shape. I run a lot of 400s and tempos.  I want to get some speed back.  I train by running Elk Meadows and Green Mountain,” Hunt said.
“This course is nice and fast.  The road itself is flat. A fast course,” Hunt added. “It was nice rolling downhill today.”  
C.J. Hitz of Colorado Springs was the masters male winner in 16:41.
The top 10k finishers were Brandon Johnson of Denver in the male division in 30:30. Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz of Broomfield was the female winner in 33:37.