For years, one of the top annual athletic events in Conecuh County has been the EMC Health & Wellness 5K race, an event that I’ve covered many times for the local newspaper. With that said, I’ve run in footraces in a wide variety of places over the years, but I’d never actually run in the EMC Health & Wellness 5K, which is typically held in downtown Evergreen on the morning of the annual Conecuh Sausage Festival. I put this race on my “bucket list” several years ago and finally got the chance to run it last Saturday, Oct. 7.
As best that I can determine, the first EMC Health & Wellness 5K was held in 2005, but it hasn’t been held every year since then. I know for a fact that there was at least one year it wasn’t held and there were possibly other years that it wasn’t ran. This, among other reasons, is why I hadn’t ran it before last Saturday.
Last Saturday’s race began with pre-registration at 7:30 a.m. at the EMC Health & Wellness Center on Court Street in Evergreen. My guess is between 20 and 30 participants, of all ages, signed up for the race, which began at 8 a.m. The race began at the Wellness Center, and the route took us over a 3.1-mile course that covered varied terrain.
From the Wellness Center, the route went a short distance down Cooper Street before making a right-hand turn onto West Front Street. From there, we ran past the Pic-N-Sav, Church’s Chicken and Dr. Barnes’ office. At the corner of West Front Street and Wild Avenue, there was a police officer, who directed us to make a right-hand turn onto Wild Avenue.
From there, the route took us past the Health Department building and Robbie’s Dozer Service to the corner of Rural Street, where race volunteers had a water table set up and were directing runners up Rural Street. Arguably the most difficult stretch of the route lay ahead as the race’s biggest hill came between that corner and the intersection with Elizabeth Street. Another police officer sat at Elizabeth Street and not far from that, near the Baptist Association building, was another water table manned by volunteers, including a few small children.
From there, it was downhill for a while until the route reached Williams Avenue, then it was up hill all the way to Liberty Hill Drive. There, at the intersection of Rural Street and Liberty Hill, another police officer sat in his patrol car, blocking traffic and directing runners the short distance to the finish line at the Wellness Center.
Now that it’s behind me, I can say with a smile that I enjoyed finally getting the chance to cross it off my “bucket list.” The weather last Saturday was perfect for a foot race, and it was fun running alongside folks that I see in the course of my work at the newspaper in Evergreen. I hope it’ll work out that I’ll get to run in this same race next year.
In the end, how many of you have ran in the EMC Health & Wellness 5K over the years? What did you think about it? What other footraces would you recommend running in? Let us know in the comments section below.