The 20th annual Lovelace Reginal Hospital-Roswell Alien Chase takes to the streets on July 5 in downtown Roswell. (Steve Notz Photo)
The 20th annual Lovelace Regional Hospital-Roswell Alien Chase 10k and 5k, scheduled for Saturday, July 5, is shaping up to have another record turnout.
The Alien Chase 10k and 5k runs and walks begin at 7 a.m. on July 5 at the Roswell Civic & Convention Center, said Bob Edwards, longtime event organizer and member of the Roswell Runners Club.
“When we started this run 20 years ago, we had 200 people sign up for the first event,” Edwards recalled. “The next year we had 275.”
However, when the 50th anniversary of the 1947 Roswell UFO crash was celebrated in 1997, participation in the 5K took off like a rocket — or maybe a spaceship.
“We had a core group of members in the Runner’s Club and we wanted to start some races here in town. When the UFO Festival began, we thought we’d do a race during the new festival.”
Nearly 700 runners showed up for the 50th anniversary run, and every year since the participation has been closer to that number than the original 200, Edwards said.
The annual event is sponsored by Lovelace Regional Hospital, the Roswell Runners Club and the Roswell Recreation Department, and except for a few years when the race was held at Cielo Grande, the Alien Chase has begun downtown at the Roswell Museum and Art Center.
Some of the runners enjoy wearing costumes for the event, Edwards said, but the serious runners come to run. “They might wear a pair of green shorts, but that would be about it. They come to run and they’re all business.”
Other participants aren’t as serious about their running, and they will come in costume, which makes the event both fun to do and fun to watch.
Registration and packet pickup for runners will be held on Friday, July 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the civic center, and again from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. on the day of the race. That portion of registration and packet pickup closes at 6:30 am.
Colorful T-shirts and awards are given for overall male/female in each of the four contested distances, as well as first, second and third places in age groups 10 and under, and up to 70 and older, Edwards said.
“The medals we award are very unique, and everyone has a great time,” Edwards said. “That is what makes a run successful.”
People from 30 of the 50 states and groups of runners from as far away as New Zealand have come to Roswell to participate in the Alien Chase.
“We were featured in a film called ‘Six Days In Roswell,’ and I had my 15 seconds of fame in that movie,” Edwards said with a laugh.
The Alien Chase also benefits the Roswell Humane Society.
“We put on four to five races a year, and all of them benefit a different charity,” Edwards said.
Not only do runners and walkers in the Alien Chase have fun, they also help a worthy cause, he added.