The weekend of October 25 had at least 10 races to chose from in the SW New Mexico / El Paso area . The Las Cruces races were 5ks , and after doing some very short intervals thursday I realized I would blow up in a short race . There was a 1/2M in Sunland Park which finished on a race track ( horse ) a marathon and half in El Paso . Both races involved no race day registration and the now typical big buck entrance fees . Meh . So I opted for the All Souls Urban Trail Races ( 5 & 15k ) in Silver City . With urban in the name …. how bad could it be ??
I spoke with Carlos , who owns the running store (Run Culture) in Las Cruces and he seemed to think the course wouldn't be too technical . Maybe some hills. .
The town of Silver City is about 110 miles west of Las Cruces in the SW corner of NM . At an altitude of 6000 feet it is somewhat cooler , especially noticeable at night . Western NM U is located here , along with a uniquely vibrant arts community . Like KW , it is a destination … not something you really drive through to get somewhere else, although there is some major wilderness and ancient culture explorations to be had nearby . And hills .
The race was being run to help raise money for the town theater . And it was being sponsored by , among others , a brewpub, who would be putting on an Oktoberfest after the race . Yes .
The course started downtown in front of the theater , turned right for a block, turned left …. and went straight up (a half mile maybe) to a gate that gets you onto the trails .Since I was already toast , I used the sharp right turn thru the gate as an opportunity to WALK . Yahoo … No O2 …. and I am just getting started . The course continued to climb and climb , making lefts and right here and there … each turn staffed by a couple of volunteers who cheerily gave you the "looking good" greeting . If I could have found the strength to vibrate my vocal cords I would have begged for ride back to the start . Shortly after passing by an old cemetery with band playing music for us , and an ambulance or two, we reached the point where the 5k and 15k split . I was so tempted . But not one runner in front of me turned for the 5k . Tell you anything ?
All kidding aside , the course was tough … very tough . But beautiful and fun . The ups were steep enough to make you walk if you didn't keep your focus . And the downs were scary enough ( steep , bumpy, and loose in spots) to make you crawl from fear …. but really for the most part , there was enough visibility so you could let it fly like an 18 wheeler in the Sierras …. knowing there was a flat spot coming up before your wheels came off ! I found myself concentrating so hard that frequently I didn't have time to realize I was out of gas !
Great community support , interesting people … and I felt I had really accomplished something when I was done . The 2nd place finisher and I yakked for a while . He ran in sandals . And not some sport sandal . Homemade . He is doing a 100 miler next week and needed the work . "Because this is about the hardest course in the state" . Now I'm feeling even better !
|the big ditch|
|coming into town|
|silver from where the course entered the trail|
|somewhere up there is the turn around|