Beautiful day and inspired feet led to course records and special memories in the Jemez Mountains at the challenging high altitude Jemez Mountain Trail Run in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The half marathon race was once again part of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup series.
There were over 600 trail runners registered to play in the 50 mile, 50 km, or half marathon adventure.
All three courses dance above 7000 feet with the 50 km and 50 mile races peaking out above 10,000 feet. The route consists of mostly sweet single-track and a few dirt roads…with plenty of switchback climbs and gnarly descents. All courses enjoy a 5+ mile descent to the last aid-station before a final two mile forget-me-not climb/scamper to the finish.
The 50 mile course contains five significant leg burning climbs and includes a descent into the Valles Caldera that will be etched in your mind for the weeks and months following the adventure.
The 50 km contains the same initial three big smile climbs, then you can enjoy some flatter sections to test out the turnover.
The half marathon course guides runners up the first significant switchback filled climb (Gauje Ridge) before the return back down to the finish. Don’t forgot the final two miles of fun!
Nick Clark (CO) was back in New Mexico to defend his 50 mile win in 2010. Nick quickly separated himself from the chase group in the early miles and after reaching the Pipeline Road Aid-station (mile 17), he focused on improving previous year’s splits and set his target on a new course record.
“I knew I needed to find 19 minutes to take down Kyle Skaggs’ course record from 2008 – the year he re-wrote the record books at Hardrock, redefining the sport of ultrarunning (as a racing pursuit) in the process – and a further eight minutes to dip under eight hours.” – Nick’s Race Report
Nick kept the effort high and was able to cross the finish in 8:07:45, setting a new course record by 30 seconds!
Brendan Trimboli, also a Colorado athlete, finished second in 9:38:07.
Top 5 male
- Nick Clark (CO) – 8:07:45 (*new course record*)
- Brendan Trimboli (CO) – 9:38:07
- Benjamin Dunn (CO) – 9:39:56
- Nick Pedatella (CO) – 9:48:36
- Corey Hanson (CO) – 9:55:00
California speedster Angela Shartel, finished 19 minutes ahead of the next chaser to win the female race in 11:05:22 (5th fastest female time on this course).
Suzanne Lewis (UT) finished firmly in second with a time of 11:24:14.
Top 5 female
- Angela Shartel (CA) – 11:05:22
- Suzanne Lewis (UT) – 11:24:14
- Leah Fein (CO) – 12:00:16
- Missy Miller (CO) – 12:18:49
- Amy Lane (VA) – 12:21:50
Albuquerque runner Molly Krehlik, ran her way into ninth overall and won the female race in 6:23:45. Molly’s effort was the 6th fastest female time on this course.
The race for second had a bit more excitement as Mary Mahoney (CO) and Sarah Thien (NM) were separated by less than one minute at the finish. Mary earned the second position in 7:07:52.
Top 5 female
- Molly Krehlik (NM) – 6:23:45 (*9th overall*)
- Mary Mahoney (CO) – 7:07:52
- Sarah Thien (NM) – 7:08:50
- Rhonda Claridge (CO) – 7:13:44
- Aimee Hoyt (NM) – 7:19:00
Local athlete, Brian Crone ran his fastest Jemez 50 km split (by 15+ minutes) in four attempts on this challenging course. Brian’s 5:44:36 finished earned him the overall win and eighth fastest male finish.
Eleven minutes later Bret Sarnquist (AZ) was within sight of the finish and led the chase group to earn second place in 5:56:04.
Top 5 male
- Brian Crone (NM) – 5:44:36
- Bret Sarnquist (AZ) – 5:56:04
- Chris Benoit (TX) – 5:59:48
- David Coblentz (NM) – 6:00:09
- Eric Pope (NM) – 6:00:41
Bryon Powell over at iRunFar provides a good summary of the intense half marathon adventure.
You can check it out here.
Also of note, female winner Erica Baron set a new female course record! Megan Kimmel (CO) finished second female and set the second fastest female time to date. Spicy at the front!
Check out some of the wisest finishers. I hope this stuff fires you up as much as it does me.
- Bud Philips (CA) took on the five challenging climbs in the 50 miler at age 64.
- Bill Moyle (CO) journeyed through the 50 km at age 72.
- Richard Opsahl (CA), Tom Alford (NM), and Richard Thompson (NM) enjoyed a half marathon in the mountains at age 79, 72, 70 respectively.
Life is play. Play is life.
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:
- Michael Ludwig (NM) kept moving throughout the 50 mile journey to finish in 16:52:19.
- Michael Morrison (TX) progressed through the 50km with determination to finish in 13:47:24.
Race Reports and other Groovy Media
- “Again, I made it a mission to run the entire thing, knowing that I had dropped to a walk a few times on this climb last year. I got a big rush once we hit the top and jetted off at a ridiculously fast pace – 5:40s, according to Scott’s GPS – in search of the turn onto the singletrack.” by Nick Clark @ Rocky Mountain Dirt Running
- “In the weeks leading up to the race I always seemed to think of the first pass through Pipeline as the real beginning of the day. But first you have to climb out of Guaje Canyon. I get the impression that this climb is an often overlooked part of this course. The first half mile or so is rather mellow but soon you get hit with a 3/4 mile, 800′ grunt, that if you weren’t expecting would be pretty demoralizing coming so soon after Caballo.” by Jacob @ Santa Fe Trail Runner
- “Then we enter what is every trail race director’s idea of a funny joke. A hand over hand climb up to the finish. I just ran as hard as my legs could run after having ran more than 32 miles and then I had to climb these rocks. My spirit took a drastic dive south and I heard people cheering my name and couldn’t even look up or smile….I was in shock, where was that damn finish line?!?” by Michelle @ Wed with the Fishes
- “Here is where I had to go straight down a ski slope. It was so steep that I was not able to go all that fast. Here is where the good trail runners separate themselves. That is a skill and confidence I will have to develop.” by Nick @ Running Italian
- “Coming back down Caballo was probably the funnest part of the day for me. I followed Amy and she literally flew down the mountain. We were flying by runners still on their way up as well as most of those that had passed us climbing Caballo. It was pretty much a wreckless descent to the bottom. The two miles that took us 50:40 to climb took us less than 20 minutes to cover on the way back down.” by Steve @ 50 for 50
- 50 Miler Photos by Jim Stein Photography.
- Course flyover: 50 mile, 50 km, half marathon
If you have an experience or thought to share from the event, please feel free to include in the comment link below.
Special thanks to Jim Stein @ Jim Stein Photography for the noted sweet 50 miler race photos you see included above.
Check out the TALON Race Guide
There are 145 regional trail/ultra races in the TALON Race Guide. Be sure to check it out if you are looking for the most complete list of events in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. New events are always being added.
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com