Trail running in Santa Fe
Endurance Santa Fe
Our goal is to bring lots of trail running events to Santa Fe. Currently we offer 4 different events throughout the year. Running in the winter when it's snowy and dark early is sometimes challenging. But the Frozen Feb FatAss is a really fun way to break out of those winter doldrums. Eight miles of snowy trail running in the DARK! Don't forget to put fresh batteries in your headlamp.
In the Spring you can test yourself against endurance horse competitors in a horse vs runner marathon. This is a new event on the Caja Del Rio plateau. Horses and runners together climbing steep and rocky slopes then cruising over wide-open grasslands. Who will be first back to the finish-line? Horse or runner?
As the leaves start to change when Fall rolls around you can enjoy our premier event. The Santa Fe ultra. The 50 mile race is one of the most challenging anywhere with more than 25,000 feet of elevation change. There is also a 50 KM race, the hardest in New Mexico according to www.IBPindex.com, a 13+ race and an uphill mile all starting and finishing at 10,000 feet above sea level. These races run on some fantastic single track.
Then at the end of October hit the 4 Peaks PhatAss climbing...4 peaks with 3,000 of climbing. Just 12 miles of fun but the grilled burgers afterward make for a fun time for everyone.
Group runs happen on Mondays at 6PM. Check the Latest News page or Facebook and Instagram for the locations as they may change. Most of the time we meet at the Dale Ball trailhead on Hyde Park Rd at Sierra Del Norte.
We also have trail work days throughout the summer. We clear deadfall, repair and maintain trails and do our part to keep the trails in good shape for everyone.
Kids are an important focus for us too. We offer running camps and clinics and the race in September supports these programs.
Endurance Santa Fe Mountain Runs 9.1.2018
Endurance Santa Fe Tests Ultra-endurance Athletes and the Uphill Inclined
Anxious runners start their race in the dark on a chilly fall morning, many heading off into the dark for more than 12 hours on the trail. The scene is lit with the orange glow of mercury vapor lights flooding the grass in front of the lodge at Ski Santa Fe. The runners’ headlamps are bright white lights bobbing into the darkness down the trail. It will be at least an hour before the sun starts to brighten the eastern horizon. Endurance Santa Fe begins on Saturday, August 31.
These people are seasoned trail runners; the added challenge of darkness enhances the adventure of a trail ultra-marathon. At the inaugural Ultra in 2016 more than 200 runners came from 14 states and 2 countries to run on the trails in the Santa Fe National Forest, Santa Fe County open space and Santa Fe’s Dale Ball trail system, 276 runners came from 23 states and countries in 2017. Santa Fe is fast becoming a trail destination.
Trail running and ultra-marathoning are growing in popularity as more people discover the adrenaline fueled dash down single track trails dodging rocks and trees and skirting precipitous drops and the monumental feat of running all day long. Runners carry much of what they need on their backs in specially designed packs. Hydration bladders firmly anchored in these packs carry up to 2 liters of water. Using a hose that snakes from the backpack to the racers’ mouth runners’ drink on the fly.
There are aid stations along the way. These aid stations have food and water that runners can use to re-supply for the next leg of their race. The aid stations are between 8 and 13 miles apart and can take 2-3 hours to get from one to the next. Endurance Santa Fe is one of the most difficult ultramarathons because of the significant climbing. Fifty mile racers will climb around 14,000 feet as they navigate the rugged course. The winner of the inaugural 50 mile race completed the course an hour faster than second place, finishing in 11 hours and 56 minutes.
Like the 2016, 2017 and the 2018 races used many of the popular trails above Santa Fe, starting and finishing at the host Ski Santa Fe. In 2019 Racers cover either 50 miles, 50 kilometers (31 miles), 13 miles or one mile straight up two black diamond ski runs on the same courses as 2018, but 2019 may see a bit of a twist, stay tuned.
Most of the trails are within the boundaries of the Santa Fe National Forest, one of these, the Winsor National Recreation trail is like the spine of the courses. The courses connect and diverge from this trail adding side loops to aid stations. Fifty mile and fifty kilometer racers climb up this trial from very close to the bottom and trailhead near the village of Tesuque. Then they scramble to enjoy the Bear Wallow/Borrego triangle and another aid station at this trailhead.
The three longer distance races follow the steep and rocky Rio En Medio trail from Ski Santa Fe along a rushing creek. Half marathon racers turn off quickly onto the Winsor National Recreation trail and head for the Big Tesuque trail and campground where they will find their first aid station. This first bit of Winsor trail funnels runners through mixed conifer forest where the fresh “piney” smell and gravity help runners reach that euphoric state before the long climb back up to the top of the mountain. The hour or longer climb is what builds the huge sense of satisfaction after the race is over for the half marathoners.
A very popular race is the Uphill Mile. This test of aerobic capacity and leg strength ascends two Black Diamond ski slopes starting at the lodge and finishing at the top of the quad chairlift. Racers can take the chairlift down after their battle with gravity. The winner of the inaugural event in 2016 flashed to the top in just over 16 minutes a sure test of mental toughness and physical ability for sure. Many people competed in this event while waiting for their friends or family to complete the longer distances.
This year runners hit the trails on August 31, Labor Day weekend. There will be chairlift rides, live music, a beer garden and food available for spectators at La Casa Lodge at Ski Santa Fe.
Many of the trails on the Endurance Santa Fe race courses are open and usable today because of hours of volunteer labor. Remote sections of the Borrego, Rio En Medio and Viejo trails were cleared by Endurance Santa Fe and Santa Fe Fat Tire Society volunteers packing in chain saws and hand tools to make the long neglected trails usable for everyone.
Start and finish are at La Casa Lodge at Ski Santa Fe. There will be food and beverages, live music and chairlift rides. First finishers should be starting to arrive around noon.