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Pajarito Trail Fest – 2011 Results

On October 8th over 80 trail snow runners crossed the finish line of a course that received its first snowfall of the season at the Pajarito Trail Fest in Los Alamos, New Mexico. For those that don’t recall, the Los Alamos area went through significant challenges this year due to forest fires throughout area. (A couple past EB articles – JMTR – Wildfire Update & Photos, Interview with Bill Geist (JMTR RD)) Due to trail closures from the fire, the 15 mile run was changed to a 12 mile scamper with a modified back-half to the 10 km course.

First snow in Los Alamos, New Mexico! (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

Beneficiaries of the event were the Pajarito Trail Recovery Fund and Las Conchas Fire Trail Recovery Fund.

The race starts at the Ski Lodge at the base of Pajarito Mountain before runner run a clockwise loops that leads runners to the Summit aid station before gliding back down the mountain to the finish line. 12 milers enjoy two loops!


Adventure. Running. Life. (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

12 Mile

One week after his third place showing at the Big Tesuque, Mike Ehrmantraut was back for some trail running adventures. This weekend Mike was the honorary trail-cutter as he ran at the front of the race that included up to 3-4 inches of fresh snow. Mike created a two+ minute gap to win the male race in 2:02:24.

Hadji Corona finished firmly in second in 2:04:46.

No lookin' back for Mike Ehrmantraut. (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

Top 5 male

  1. Mike Ehrmantraut – 2:02:24
  2. Hadji Corona – 2:04:46
  3. Chip Cooper – 2:07:43
  4. Daryl Dagel – 2:15:28
  5. Mark Porter – 2:15:46

Jessica Kiesel high-stepped it through the powdery white stuff to create a two+ minute gap and win the female race in 2:52:23.

Keisha Laskie held onto the runner-up position to earn second in 2:54:27.

Jessica Kiesel with Ken Kiesel leading the way. (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

Top 5 female

  1. Jessica Kiesel – 2:52:23
  2. Keisha Laskie – 2:54:27
  3. Veronika Mocko – 2:57:50
  4. Kimberly Ortega – 3:11:43
  5. Kelsi Felson – 3:33:16

12 mile results

10 km

Whitney Dreier and Meghan Healy pushed the pace within the top 10 of the overall. Meghan was able to separate from Whitney and create a 90+ second gap to win the female race in 1:13:51 and finish 7th overall.

Whitney earned 8th overall and second female in 1:15:25.

Meghan Healy high-steppin' it through a deeper snow section. (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

Top 5 female

  1. Meghan Healy – 1:13:51 (*7th overall*)
  2. Whitney Dreier – 1:15:25 (*8th overall*)
  3. Marta Becvarik – 1:18:10
  4. Michelle Holland – 1:20:28
  5. Stephanie Tornga – 1:20:56

Micah Zuhl ran over 30 seconds per mile faster than the small chase group that included David Coblentz and Matt Dreier. Micah won the male race in 1:02:15.

David was able to create a small 16 second gap to cross the line second in 1:05:42.

Micah Zuhl gliding through the snow. (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

Top 5 male

  1. Micah Zuhl – 1:02:15
  2. David Coblentz – 1:05:42
  3. Matt Dreier – 1:05:58
  4. Nathaniel Ortega – 1:12:10
  5. Damien Passalacqua – 1:12:14

Complete 10km results

Inspiration Point

Check out some of the wisest finishers. I hope this stuff fires you up as much as it does me.

  • Ted William (age 64) and Howard Maat (age 73) enjoyed the 10 km snow dash.
  • Robert Reedy (age 69), Jack Clark (age 68), and James Sparks (age 64) went after the two loop course.

Greatness! – Howard Maat (age 73) and Jack Clark (age 68) (Photo: Copyright Jim Stein /

Life is play. Play is life.

Race Reports and Pics

A huge thanks to Jim Stein Photography for the great photos you see above!

Check out the TALON Race Guide

There are 157 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 –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

5 Responses to “Pajarito Trail Fest – 2011 Results”

  1. on 14 Oct 2011 at 7:20 pm Jonathan

    How cool is that!! Way to go Howard and Jack! Good to see some nice pictures of the Los Alamos area. Hopefully things will turn for the better for Jemez next year. No snow here in Palo Duro but we will have some nice temps in the high 40s in the morning!

  2. on 18 Oct 2011 at 12:00 pm whitney

    just thought i’d let you know that photo is of meghan, not whitney! otherwise, great race report!

  3. on 18 Oct 2011 at 7:36 pm David Hanenburg

    Jonathan – Awesome to see those guys having fun and getting it done! It will be interesting to see what the final course for Jemez will be.

    How was PD?

    Whitney – Thank you sooo much for the catch. I have updated accordingly. Thank you! 🙂

  4. on 19 Oct 2011 at 1:49 pm Jonathan

    OH MAN!! It was unbelieveable! I had an absolute blast running the canyon. All-you-can eat pre-race pasta dinner was great. Trail races always have an eclectic mix of people and a fair amount of them were running their first trail race. Bill got choked up when he started about how this race is in honor of Red Spicer, the previous race director, and that there were some volunteers who had been there for 22 years. That’s what I call longevity. The race has some real history to it and it was interesting to meet the people behind the scenes. It certainly changes your perspective on what it takes to put on a good race.

    We got to the canyon at a 6 and by the time we parked and got to the start/finish we had about 15 mins before the 50M/50K start. 7 am hit and the runners were off with the bagpies playing in the cold dark. Temps were in the high 40s so I knew there would be some fast first laps.

    I got myself prepared for the 20K scamper and made sure I had what I needed. I decided to take my Camelbak without the bladder to hold my gels and camera and carried my Amphipod. The sun coming up over the canyon was spectacular. I had to stop several times along the trail to take pictures. I stayed up front and by myself for most of the race, which was fine with me. It allowed me to enjoy the trail and my surroundings. The aid stations were incredible and the volunteers were awesome, so much so in fact that I volunteered the rest of the day at the start/finish aid station until the last 50 miler was in.

    The trail was a great single-track with some really cool rock formations and not a lot of places for passing. Coming upon the backside of The Lighthouse at mile 5 or so was really cool. I pulled out my camera and made a brief video for my friends back home. Think I was doing an 8:35 pace at the time. I had heard about the Dos Locos Senoritas and the craziness they bring. They were right – you could hear them almost a 1/2 mile away. The two ladies were super cool and they refilled my handheld and gave me homemade date bars – so freaking good!

    Before I reached their aid station I started to get a crazy headache. Not sure what caused it, but seeing that I’m a flatlander from Katy, Tx (West of Houston), I took it to be an altitude headache. Elevation was about a bit over 3000 ft. I just kept drinking water and hoped that it would pass; it did, thankfully.

    I got to the second to last aid station and a 15 year-old caught me and I couldn’t catch him. Always amazes me how kids seem to just go fast without any effort. I had to concentrate and refocus during the last few miles. A few people passed me but I managed to catch them before the finish line. I finished in 2:02, just a few mins under my goal, which isn’t to shabby seeing that I’ll be running a half marathon this weekend in Houston. The total elevation gain/loss was much less than Capt’n Karl’s the Shoe outside Austin. I certainly was not expecting that considering my legs were sore Sunday and Monday.

    I met a couple of guys from San Antonio the night before, Vidal Gonzales and his friend Dustin, who were running the 50 miler. It’s always cool to hear stories from other runners and where they’ve run. Turns out that Vidal and I ran the Shoe and Dustin was attempting his first 50 miler. Before they went out for their last 12.5 mile loop a my buddy and I refilled their Camelbaks and sent them on their way. Most of the 50 milers were finishing and I hadn’t seen Vidal or Dustin and started to get worried. I then looked up and saw Dustin walking toward me. Unfortunately he couldn’t go the distance due to his kidneys hurting. He’s a doctor so he knew when enough is enough. Still no Vidal. The cut-off time was 7 pm and it was coming fast. 30 minutes, no Vidal. 20 – no Vidal. 5 mins left and I laced up and went back up the trail to find him. I found him just as he hit the pavement coming off the trail. He was shuffling along and you could tell he was hurting. As he got closer to the finish line he started smiling. People were cheering him in and you could tell it was the shot in the arm he needed. 1 minute to cut-off . . . 30 seconds, 20 seconds . . . 10 seconds . . . he made it across with 7 seconds to spare! Tough as nails in my book!

    I was impressed with how the race went and especially the amount of effort it takes to put on an event and cater to runners’ needs. I appreciated it very much and enjoyed watching the finishers. I’m glad I stayed and worked an aid station. While I thanked all the volunteers at the stations, I will use it as a reminder that these people are volunteers and do their best to make us runners feel comfortable and encouraged during the long haul. I’ve seen too many runners blast through aid stations like a tornado and don’t even bother to thank the workers little alone pick up after themselves.

    It was definitely worth the 10 hour drive from Houston. I will be back next year. 50 miler here I come! Who’s in?!


  5. on 24 Oct 2011 at 9:29 am David Hanenburg

    Great report Jonathan! It really is one of the really unique venues in our region. And of course, they nail the race execution.

    Also thanks for helping out at the aid-station. That will definitely provide a unique perspective to the event.

    So cool to hear about Vidal making it in with a few seconds to spare! Awesome.