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It was a change for Erica Baron this year, but that change did her good.
Instead of electing to do the 50 kilometer race at this year’s Jemez Mountain Trail Run, Baron decided to do the half-marathon, a race she’d never attempted before.
The decision paid off well for Baron, who won the race. Baron finished with a time of 1 hour, 48 minutes, 39 seconds, nearly two minutes better than her closest competitor, Megan Kimmel of Silverton, Colo.
Baron has been for several years one of the top local distance runners. Earlier this year she was the 10K top finisher at the inaugural Run for Her Life race and in 2008 picked up a nearly 20-minute victory at the Pajarito Trail Run 15 miler.
Baron elected to run the half-marathon this year because that race is part of the La Sportiva trail run series, part of the shoe maker’s Mountain Cup Challenge. Baron will run another La Sportiva race in less than three weeks when she takes part in the Vail (Colo.) Hill Climb, a 7-1/2 mile jaunt July 3.
“The half obviously goes a lot faster,” she said. “There was a lot of downhill for Jemez. There was a lot of climbing at first, but after Guaje Ridge, there’s a lot of downhill, so you have to prepare for speed.”
To get ready for these events, Baron trains on trails and soft surfaces, not only because she’s running on that type of terrain but to prevent training injury, does a treadmill workout once a week and goes on a long-distance run once a week for as many as four hours.
Following the Vail race July 3, Baron will travel to San Diego for a half-marathon in August, then to the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota in October.