If there is a regional trail race that requires you to BRING IT, the Jemez Mountain Trail Run in Los Alamos, New Mexico is it. Over the weekend nearly 500 adventure seekers finished either the 50 mile, 50 km, or half marathon trail run. A good many more started the day, that is anything but a gimme.
Mountain – a natural elevation of the earth’s surface rising more or less abruptly to a summit, and attaining an altitude greater than that of a hill, usually greater than 2000 ft. (610 m).
We have a variety of what would be technically called mountains, scattered throughout the region but the Jemez Mountains leave nothing to doubt. All race distances start at 7000 feet. The 50 mile and 50 km events peak at 10,000+ feet and the half marathon reaches 8800 feet. This is mountain running baby!
The race organizers describe the trail as a “technical trails with a substantial amount of elevation change. The 50k and 50 mile events include extremely steep climbs and descents on very technical terrain. On the course, runners will experience high altitude (over 10,000 feet above sea level), scree fields, stream crossings, fallen trees, and other obstacles.”
How much climbing really?
50 mile – 12,000+ feet
50 km – 7700+ feet
half marathon – 2700+ feet
This is a good days worth of work here. Then thin the air and you have yourself a serious challenge.
The male race had two Fort Collins, Colorado athletes separate from anyone interested in hooking on their coattails. Nick Clark and Ryan Burch pushed the pace with Clark able to create just a bit of separation (try 5 minutes) to earn the win in 8:26:13.
Top 3 Male:
- Nick Clark (CO) – 8:26:13
- Ryan Burch (CO) – 8:31:25
- Jason Taylor (NM) – 9:46:10 (*Top TALON athlete*)
The female race for first was a one women show, with Diana Finkel mixing it up with the front pack of men and holding onto a 90+ minute margin over second place.
Top 3 Female:
- Diana Finkel (CO) – 10:32:02
- Megan Morrissey (CO) – 12:13:13
- Susan Gebhart (CO) – 12:21:58
Top TALON female – Nicole Chamney (NM) – 12:33:32
The top three females all placed within the top 10 overall. Petra Mcdowell kept the legs moving just a bit faster than her nearest chaser to win with a time of 6:08:43.
Top 3 Female:
- Petra Mcdowell (NM) – 6:08:43 (*5th overall*)
- Sus Brozik (NM) – 6:17:15 (*6th overall*)
- Heath Wood (NM) – 6:28:40 (*10th overall*)
The mens race had TALON athlete, Sean O’rourke, hold off the Colorado athletes hunting him down. O’rourke maintained a nine minute lead at the finish to win in 5:29:11.
Top 3 Male:
- Sean O’rourke (NM) – 5:29:11
- Ryan Kircher (CO) – 5:38:01
- Robert Woerne (CO) – 6:01:24
With the half marathon being part of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup Series, speed came to play. This year’s top finisher time was six minutes faster than any previous half marathon results.
The top four men were separated by less than four minutes by the end of this run and a scant one minute between first and second. I envision 90+ minutes of go, go, feel-the-burn, grrrr, ouch…then fall down at the finish.
Top 3 Male:
- Ryan Woods (NC) – 1:36:47
- Matthew Byrne (PA) – 1:37:24
- Bernie Boettcher (CO) – 1:40:53
Top TALON athlete – Chip Cooper (NM) – 1:54:28 (*7th overall*)
The women’s race had Laura Haefeli looking ahead and not behind as she held onto a near seven minute lead at the finish. There was some excitement in the dash for second with one minute separating Rachel Earley and Megan Kimmel. Good stuff!
Top 3 Female:
- Laura Haefeli (CO) – 1:51:38 (*6th overall*)
- Rachel Earley (NM) – 1:58:14 (*9th overall*)
- Megan Kimmel (CO) – 1:59:17
The Tough-as-Nails Award
The final finishers of an ultra distance event are some of the toughest athletes that are willing to stick with it to the best of their current ability and cross that darn finish line.
The Tough-as-Nails award recipients:
- 50 mile – Susan Gardner dug in to finish the 50 mile adventure in 16:34:05.
- 50 km – Douglas Endreson persevered to finish the 50 km in 14:01:56.
- Male winner – “Basically, we took a left and headed through a marshy grassland for the mountains, following a series of flags that would mark our route. We wouldn’t see trail again for a good hour and half. The hike up Cerro Grande was borderline laughable, with a little bit of everything thrown at us, including a double navigation of a huge boulder field, tons and tons of downed trees and a ridiculously steep slog to the top.” by Nick @ Rocky Mountain Dirt Running
- “The first big climb was fairly easy for me as well. I remember absolutely HURTING on that climb two years ago. However, my strength training in preparation for this year really made a difference. My legs would recover VERY quickly. However, once I started to climb Caballo, my heart would start trying to beat out of my chest and I would get short of breath.” by Mark S. @ The Naked Runner
- “Breathless, I asked whether I still needed to get to Pipeline before the cut-off? If so, I really had to leave NOW (it was about 4:20 pm). They assured me that I had just made the cut-off, no problem. My math was correct, my memory was not. Excellent!” by Marcy @ That’s What She Said
- “Right now, I’m just sore; neck, back, abs, arms, butt, legs, knees, ankles and oddly enough, just realized how sore and immobile my toes are… After a hard race, I usually have some area of soreness but it’s not usually everything!!” by Jason T. @ Jason Taylor
- “Now for the tricky part. The drop down into the Valle Caldera is much like a cliff face with loose rocks and sand. There is no way to run down it and many people just slide down on their butt. A lady asks, “Why don’t you go first so when I fall I’ll have something soft to land on?” OK, here goes.” by Greg @ Greg’s Running Adventures
Here is a great video by Jeff Jones highlighting some of the Jemez experience.
Congrats to all those that started this amazing adventure in the mountains.
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
(Photo: Courtesy of Pat D.)
Posted on 27 May 2010
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