[Hey EB tribe - Below is the first article by Jim Breyfogle, a fellow dirt runner in New Mexico that loves to go ultra. Most all of his adventures range from the 50km to the 100 mile distance. Jim will also be coming out with a great 100 mile article series right here on Endurance Buzz. Welcome Jim! - Dave]
Over 300 runners came out to the 7th annual Run the Caldera Marathon and half marathon. The race, which also had a 10km the day before, is nestled in the Valles Caldera National Preserve and takes runners through a scenic loop around the caldera. The Valles Caldera is a giant, 89,000 acre volcanic caldera in the middle of the Jemez Mountains. The Caldera is protected by a unique, non-profit trust; so much of the preserve is only accessible to the public during events like the race.
Both races are entirely on dirt roads. The marathon has 2100 feet of climbing; most of it in one long climb up to nearly 10,000 feet at mile nine, and the rest in two short, but deceptively steep climbs after mile 20 that wait for the weary runner. The half marathon also has one big climb in the middle of the race, and another shorter, but no less painful, climb near the end.
This year was dubbed the “Year of the Cougar”, so every mile marker had interesting facts about mountain lions. For example, did you know a mountain lion needs to eat three runners a day to survive? OK, that wasn’t really one of the facts, but nothing like being reminded of the hungry animals watching you in the woods every mile! The weather was a little warm in the more exposed sections of the course, but generally there was good running weather.
In the marathon, both course records fell. Matthew Brake blew the field away with a record time of 3:27:45. He was followed by Erica Baron, first female and second overall, in 3:36:25. James McIntosh and Neil Blake battled it out for second and third male, with James finishing mere 25 seconds ahead. In the women’s’ race, Jean Herbert had another great performance in second, and Maryann Kos finished third.
Top Male – Marathon
- Matthew Brake – 3:27:45
- James McIntosh – 3:46:02
- Neil Blake – 3:46:27
Top Female – Marathon
- Erica Baron – 3:36:25
- Jean Herbert – 3:58:28
- Maryann Kos – 4:02:09
The half marathon also had some very fast winning times. Joachim Marjon beat Steven Rodgers by 25 seconds to win the male race in 1:31:22, and Holly Walker won the women’s race in 1:59:31.
Top Male – Half Marathon
- Joachim Marjon – 1:31:22
- Steven Rodgers – 1:31:47
- Colin Hemez – 1:44:21
Top Female – Half Marathon
- Holly Walker – 1:59:31
- Bridget Herron – 2:02:36
- Amanda Mercer – 2:03:03
So how did I do? I had a fun day that included almost running into a bear around mile 10 and finishing in 8th place overall/5th male in the marathon.
Race Reports and Pics
- “The hill was so steep I was almost on my hands and knees. The ground was soft sand filled with rocks. It was a slow going but with awesome views of the mountains. For the next two miles the decent started but my technical downhill running on rocks and soft sand is not good so I was not able to take advantage of it.” by Hilary @ Adventure Artist
- Do you have a report? Please share in the comment link below.
Talk some Dirt
- How was your caldera adventure?
Check out the TALON Race Guide
There are 150+ 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.
- Jim Breyfogle