A massive registration for today’s Jemez Mountain Trail Runs took place Friday at the Crossroads Bible Church in which nearly 600 runners signed up for the race. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
By Carol A. Clark
The Seventh Annual Jemez Mountain Trail Runs got underway early this morning at the Posse Lodge on North Mesa.
This growing international event drew nearly 600 runners, 40 percent of whom traveled from British Columbia, Mexico and 29 U.S. states beyond New Mexico.
The event consists of three races: half-marathon, 50K (31 miles) and 50 miles.
“The longest distances are considered by many runners to be one of the three toughest 50 milers in the country,” said Vlad Henzl, Jemez Mountain Trail Runs – Sponsors Relations. “We run on the rugged trails around Los Alamos, climb Pajarito Mountain (twice) followed by a drop to Valle Caldera, which is one of the rare opportunities to explore this wonderful preserve on foot, we climb back up the Pajarito Mountain and drop back down to town via the Guaje Ridge Trail, finishing at the Posse Lodge.”
While the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs is well known in the trail and ultra running community, many Los Alamos residents are unaware of this important event, Henzl said.
“As one of the members of the organizing committee, I am especially proud of the impact our race has on the local economy, as well as on many of the local nonprofit organizations,” he said. “This year, because of the Las Conchas Fire, we had to reroute our regular course, but our runners raised more than $2,000 on top of the regular registration fee, to contribute to the Trail Fire-Recovery Fund. And many of our local running enthusiasts have participated in the ongoing trail recovery projects all around Los Alamos and in the Jemez.”
Backed by more than 150 volunteers and nearly two dozen sponsors, all of the proceeds from the event are distributed among local nonprofit organizations, he said.
Last year, Jemez Mountain Trail Runs raised and contributed more than $15,000 to beneficiaries including:
- Los Alamos High School Track & Field
- Pajarito Mountain Ski Patrol
- Volunteer Task Force
- Mountain Canine Club
- Cross Roads Bible Church
- Amateur Radio Club
- Nordic Ski Club
- Rotary Club
- Wally Walter Scholarship Fund
- Aaron Goldman Scholarship Fund
Race Director Bill Geist goes over course rules with runners at Friday’s registration. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Race Director Bill Geist and 2013 Race Director Tom Stockton spoke about today’s race during a mass registration at Crossroads Bible Church Friday afternoon.
They would like to see the Los Alamos community embrace the annual event.
“Many smaller communities with events like this welcome the runners, hanging welcome banners outside their businesses and give away trinkets and that type of thing,” Geist said.
Members have begun promoting the idea of making the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs a communitywide event, speaking with businesses and organizations and the County Council.
Councilor Mike Wismer attended Friday’s mass registration and welcomed the hundreds of runners to Los Alamos.
Aid Station Volunteer Coordinator Kay Birdsell and runner Dylan Harp check out shoes and talk with Ian Achey of La Sportiva who dispalyed a variety of running shoes during Friday’s registration. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Runners will be trickling back to the Posse Lodge throughout the afternoon and evening today.
Check Sunday’s edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post for photos from the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs.