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Now is the time to sign up for the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs

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By Kirsten Laskey

It’s never too early to sign up for the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs. Runners may dash off from the starting line on May 22, but registration is open right now for the event.

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Aaron Goldman, who has directed four of the runs, said entries for the 50-mile and 50K run were available Dec. 1 and already 85 runners from seven states have signed up to participate. Registration for the half-marathon race (13.1 miles) will open Feb. 1 and Goldman encourages people to sign up early. The half marathon is limited to 250 people.

Participants can register online at www.high                 altitudeathletics.org.

All three races attracted a lot of people this year. Goldman said 500 runners from 30 states participated. Next year, there will be a limited  number of racers  for each race, which is 200.  

“Register early,” said Kris Kern, who is the director of next year’s race along with Bill Geist. “These are known as some of the toughest and most scenic races in the country. And they’re very popular and they fill up fast.”

Next year, racers will start bright and early with the 50-mile race at 5 a.m. May 22 at the Posse Lodge. The 50K will start at 6 a.m. and the half-marathon will begin at 7 a.m.

Before the event begins, a pre-race dinner will be held May 21 at Crossroad Bible Church. Racers will be treated to another meal the day of the race.

Besides a dinner and a lunch, finishers in the long races will receive a piece of pottery by Santa Clara artist Birdell Bourdon. Winners in each age group, men and women, in the half marathon will also receive a piece of Bourdon’s pottery.

Additionally, entrants will receive a poster for next year’s race, which features a  Secundino Sandoval painting.  

The posters are on sale at Village Arts, CB Fox, Brownell’s Hallmark, Curves and Otowi bookstore.

Goldman encourages everyone to hit the trails “because it is on trails and it’s all trails surrounding Los Alamos.”

He said runners will race at an elevation that reaches 11,000 feet, plus, “it’s a beautiful course.”

“We’ve gotten rave reviews from runners about the races and the support we get from the community, we’re very proud to use these races to show off Los Alamos and what these mountains have to offer,” Kern said.

He added, the race attracts some of the best ultra runners from the country.

The races take place on Santa Fe National Forest property. Goldman commented that both parties win in this situation.

The race volunteers clear trails for the national forest and Santa Fe National Forest provides runners with beautiful scenery.

Participants will also help support the community.

Goldman said the proceeds from entry fees will primarily go toward the Los Alamos High School Cross Country Team but some money will go toward Open Space Specialist Craig Martin’s work with youth.

Additionally, Search and Rescue will be given some money.

“We have a long history of supporting the cross country team with these races,” Kern said.

For a number of years support has been given to the Wally Walter Scholarship.

“We think the running programs at the high school are outstanding and give a lot to the community,” he said.

High Altitude Athletics Club in conjunction with the Atomic City Roadrunners, puts on the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs. The club is a nonprofit organization that was  formed in the early 70s, Kern said, so it’s been around a long time.

Originally, Kern said, the club supported a 24-hour race at Sullivan Field.

Later, High Altitude Athletics hosted mini marathons and Bandelier races.

Now, Kern said, the Jemez Mountain Races are the flagship races.