Santa Fe, N.M. —The second annual Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon will draw runners from across North America the weekend of September 15. The USATF-certified race starts Sunday, Sept. 16, at 8 a.m. in downtown Santa Fe and will end in the Rio Grande Valley at the Pueblo of Pojoaque’s Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. The race will bring runners and families from around the country to New Mexico and will give athletes the opportunity to test their fitness and endurance at high altitude.
The Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon course will be fast and scenic, dropping over 1,300 feet after a gradual climb for the first two miles. The race starts at historic Fort Marcy Park in the heart of Santa Fe. Runners will head north on the Old Taos Highway and will see the spectacular views of the 13,000 foot high Sangre De Cristo mountains to the east soon after they exit Fort Marcy. They will also see the 11,000 foot Jemez Mountains to the west, which will be in the peak fall colors. At the three-mile mark near the Santa Fe Opera, the high point of the course, an inspiring panorama will inspire runners to kick it up a notch. The red rock formations extending up the valley north as far as the eye can see will entice the runners to keep going as they descend into the Rio Grande Valley.
The course then will take the runners into the picturesque Village of Tesuque, passing by Tesuque Village Market, where music, refreshments and water stations await. Continuing downhill, participants will enter the Tesuque Pueblo, passing by Camel Rock before reaching the Pueblo of Pojoaque. The finish will be at the magnificent Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino.
“We’ve created a destination race with top runners who will enjoy our beautiful scenery and rich culture,” says race director Joseph Karnes of Global Running Culture. “We have entries from 26 states, Canada and Mexico. We hope to grow this into a ‘must run’ race that provides participants with an unforgettable experience. There’s still time to register, so please visit www.santafethunder.com and join us for this beautiful, fun run.”
Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon will honor legendary Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, Steve “King of the Mountain” Gachupin, double U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier, Nike N7 Ambassador Alvina Begay and World Record Steeplechaser Peter Koech. They all are scheduled to attend and participate in weekend events. Mills will officially start the race. In addition, a contingent of Rarámuri (Tarahumara) Indians from Copper Canyon, Mexico, is scheduled to participate in the weekend events. The Rarámuri are famed for their running-based culture, as recently portrayed in the best-selling book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.
Global Running Culture, a nonprofit organization formed by elite distance runners Abraham Kosgei, Joseph Karnes and Antonio Lopez, created Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon. They came together to promote youth fitness, nutrition and health through participation in the sport of running. The race is the group’s primary fundraiser. Partnering with Whole Foods Market, Global Running Culture established the Fitness, Food & Fun Program at the Santa Fe Boys & Girls Clubs. This monthly program provides Club members with the opportunity to run with elite athletes, learn about healthy nutrition and enjoy healthy snacks.
“We want to inspire the next generation by the power of sport,” says 2000 Kenyan Olympic Team selection Abraham Kosgei. “For every child, regular physical activity and good nutrition are keys to success in life.”
There were 710 runners in the 2011 Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon. Organizers can accommodate up to 1,000 runners this year.
Following his astounding come-from-behind victory in the 1964 Olympic 10,000 meter race in Tokyo and a world-record-setting career, Billy Mills has devoted his life to enhancing opportunities for young people. His foundation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, implements his vision, and his worldwide appearances inspire people of all ages to make the most of their lives. “Each of us is unique,” says Mills, “and we should appreciate the opportunities we have and make the most of them.” Mills is attending the race in support of Global Running Culture’s mission to promote youth fitness and health through healthy nutrition and participation in sport.
Nike N7 dry-fit t-shirts, handmade age-group awards made by Pueblo artists, unique finisher’s medals, a pasta dinner at Buffalo Thunder and live music along the course, combined with Santa Fe’s natural beauty and cultural amenities, make this race a not-to-miss event for both runners and spectators.
Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon weekend events include a talk by Billy Mills, the Race Expo, a Kids Run and the Pasta Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 15. The Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon, 5K and 1 mile walk all start Sunday, Sept. 16, at 8 a.m., followed by awards and entertainment at the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. The point-to-point half marathon course starts at Fort Marcy and finishes at the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, which is where the 5K and 1 Mile walk start and finish.
To register and for additional information, please visit www.santafethunder.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration Fees: Half Marathon: $50, 5K: $25, Walk: $15
After Sept. 9: Half Marathon: $60, 5K: $30, Walk: $20
Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon is an official New Mexico Centennial project