New mother wins the 50-mile Jemez run

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By The Staff

Darcy Africa delivered at the Jemez Mountain Runs May 16, just three months after a delivery of a completely different sort.

Africa, from Boulder, Colo., was the women's overall winner at the Jemez Mountain Run's 50-mile event.

The Jemez Mountain Runs, which started and ended on North Mesa and traversed the local mountainous terrain, attracted more than 400 runners in three events. The long race, totaling out at 50 miles, is considered by more than some competitors to be the toughest race in the country, going over three mountains measured at more than 10,000 feet.

Just three months ago, Africa had a baby, but she was able to get back into running shape in that time. Africa's time of 10 hours, 48 minutes, 44 seconds, was nearly an hour better than two well-known ultrarunners from Colorado, Leadville's Betsy Kalmeyer and Littleton's Michelle Jensen.

In the men's 50-mile race, Ryan Burch of Greeley, Colo., turned in an impressive performance in his own right. Burch's time of 9:13:52 was nearly 40 minutes better than his nearest competitor, Dakota Jones of Durango, Colo.

For Jones, it was his first ultramarathon competition.

In that race, Jason Halladay was the first local runner to finish. Halladay placed fifth, finishing in 10:11:19. There were no local entrants in the women's competition with local runner Petra McDowell out of town.

Flagstaff, Ariz., competitor Paul Saladino was the top finisher in the men's 50-kilometer race. Michael Hoog of Los Alamos was the top local finisher in that race, finishing in fifth place.

Another Colorado runner, Keri Nelson, topped Joy Roe-Pachirst of Indianapolis to win the women's 50 K event. Nelson's time of 5:31:53 was also nearly an hour better than her runner-up.

The 20-kilometer race was won by local runner Chip Cooper, who was one of only two runners to top the 2-hour mark. Cooper (1:50:55) finished about 7-1/2 minutes ahead of Abiquiu runner Raul Manzanares in second place.

Rachael Earley of Albuquerque was the top female finisher in the 20 K race, while Jamesina Simpson, also of Albuquerque, finished second.

Richard Opsahl of Los Alamos at age 77 was the oldest competitor at the event, while 14-year-old John Gordon was the youngest.

For complete results, see Friday's Monitor.