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2012 La Luz Trail Run Results – Simon Gutierrez and Erica Baron First to Reach 10,678 Feet

46 year old, Simon Gutierrez, and 40 year old, Erica Baron said, “Catch me if you can!”

None did!

On August 5th, the 47th running of the nine mile La Luz Trail Run took place on the foothills of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico under run-happy conditions (cool) for the 400 lucky lottery entrants. 16 states and the country of Zambia represented.

Sunrise on La Luz. (Photo: Courtesy Amitabh T @

The unique aspect of the scamper, a nine mile grunt that provides over 4000 feet of climbing goodness with the finish waiting for you at 10678 feet. The race provides an interesting effort management puzzle and will drop a tough lesson if you burn too many matches early on. Opportunities to recover??…I guess at the finish.


Fun stairs near the end of the race. (Photo: Courtesy desertrice @

Men’s Race

10-time race winner (1997-1999, 2002-2008), Simon Gutierrez, took off with a small six man group of youthful, fast-food tread that created a gap from the rest of the field within the early strides after the word “Go!” At the one mile mark of steep road running to the trailhead, the lead pack already began to stretch out with Simon and 2010-2011 winner, Kris Houghton, setting the pace at the front. Moving through the field, New Mexico State cross country runner, Jonah Ruybalid, was positioned in third as they started the singletrack adventure.

Around mile three, Jonah caught Kris and received some motivation from the defending champ.

“I found myself caught up to Kris Houghton (who won the last two years) about three miles into the race and he told me that I could get Simon. I kept pressing and I noticed that Simon was only 30 seconds ahead of me. That’s when it occurred to me that I actually had a shot at getting him. I thought that if I could close the gap and then push the last 1000 meters after the rock slide that maybe, just maybe I could get him.”

Effort management…not always easy for those that have multiple gears.

“I felt good but it was going through my mind that maybe I was making my move too early.”

Simon Gutierrez pushing the pace while looking relaxed. (Photo: Courtesy Albuquerque Road Runners /

With 2.2 miles from the finish, Simon held onto a 25 second gap with Jonah in chase.

Jonah continued to push but with one mile to go, the effort from the previous miles were beginning to climb on his back.

“From there on I was just trying to maintain and keep second place.”

Simon went on to win the male race in 1:21:47, his fastest time since his 2005 win.

Jonah held onto second in a spicy 1:23:57 effort.

Jonah was stoked about his effort.

“I was so happy to finish the race this year in second. It really shows that my hard work has been paying off and gives me the confidence to shoot for the win next year.”

Top 5 male

  1. Simon Gutierrez – 1:21:47
  2. Jonah Ruybalid – 1:23:57
  3. Dustin Martin – 1:26:10
  4. Ryan Fenton – 1:27:17
  5. Kristopher Houghton – 1:29:44

Women’s Race

New Mexico athlete known to put her tread at or near the front of 50 km and shorter distances, Erica Baron, was chasing men in the top 10 of the overall on the challenging La Luz trail.

Erica reached the top of Sandia Crest in ninth position, winning the female race in 1:34:59.

Erica Baron holding her bling. (Photo: Courtesy Albuquerque Road Runners /

Molly Roberts earned runner-up honors.

Top 5 female

  1. Erica Baron – 1:34:59
  2. Molly Roberts – 1:48:51
  3. Lisa Valle – 1:49:54
  4. Jean Herbert – 1:55:34
  5. Katrin Silva – 1:56:40
Complete results.

Race Reports and Pics

  • Couldn’t find any race reports. Feel free to share your experience in the comment link below.

All ages enjoying the day. (Photo: Courtesy Albuquerque Road Runners /

Talk Some Dirt
  • Many sweet views along the course. Any particular one you really liked?
  • The boulder section. The stairs. Any comments?

Special thanks to Jonah Ruybalid for sharing with us and Albuquerque Road Runners for the race pics.

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.

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.

7 Responses to “2012 La Luz Trail Run Results – Simon Gutierrez and Erica Baron First to Reach 10,678 Feet”

  1. on 31 Aug 2012 at 11:46 am Jonathan

    Would love to do this run as I love New Mexico but cant justify going for a race of 9 miles. Does that sound snarky?

  2. on 31 Aug 2012 at 11:49 am David Hanenburg

    Nine miles by itself may or may not be worth it, but you could spend a long weekend playing on trails in the area and then cap it off with La Luz!! BAM! Definitely worth it. 🙂

  3. on 02 Sep 2012 at 7:39 am Jason

    Agree with David. It’s a great race. I think it’s either the last, or the longest running race held in a Wilderness area in the US too. They’ve been able to keep their permitting all this time. Lots of other trails to hit too.

  4. on 04 Sep 2012 at 8:26 am olga

    This sounds so awesome, especially the stairs at the end! Great shot of the views too! 9 miles, huh? 🙂

  5. on 04 Sep 2012 at 11:17 am Jonathan

    Hmmm, I think Santa Fe is calling my name. Think you just talked me into it David.

    BTW, what did you think of Reveille Ranch? Congrats on your finish!

  6. on 04 Sep 2012 at 12:10 pm David Hanenburg

    Jason – Thanks for the additional insight. Hmm, I wonder who would be a good insider source on the local trails. 😉

    Olga – Would seem fun to get a local group together and make a long weekend out of it. Now what are the odds of winning the lottery?

    Jonathan – …or Albuquerque. We did enjoy or Santa Fe stays for the last couple Jemez adventures.

    Reveille Ranch – Good times. Great venue. Felt like I broke a toe, hopefully didn’t. 🙂

  7. […] will drop a tough lesson if you burn too many matches early on,” blogged David Hanenburg at “Opportunities to recover? I guess at the […]