Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Acoma Seed Run

View dropping into the valley
I got up early this morning to head out to Acoma Pueblo to run the annual Acoma Seed Run.   This is one of those rare gems of a run that I was blessed to find out about from Jim Breyfogle, a local ultrarunner and race director.   The Seed Run is every year on Memorial Day.   

The course is relatively straight forward but not without difficulty.   The initial 100m or so is a sprint down asphalt to a sharp turn onto sandy dirt road.   The road turns steep and heads up and over the top of the mesa that the old Acoma pueblo is located on.    The terrain is extremely sandy and it's hard to get purchase of any kind.   Matt and I were in the lead but immediately passed by a local runner who eventually won the event.    At the top of the climb there are a few rocky notches just large enough for a human body and then a bombing descent through sand and scrub bushes to a dirt road.   Dirt roads with long sandy stretches are the mainstay of the first 5 miles of the race.    There is a 3.5 mile stretch on asphalt that takes runners back to the finish and is mostly flat except for a slight incline back to the finish line.  
ABQ Road Runners Representing!

The race is 8.3 miles long and a fast trail run.  1st and 2nd place finishers in every age group, divided by 5 year increments, receive a handmade piece of Acoma pottery.  3rd place finishers receive a medallion, though smaller, no less impressive in craftsmanship. 

My favorite part of the race was the community.   It seemed like many of the locals came out to cheer us on and meet us at the finish.   The Pueblo Fathers were at the finish and at the awards ceremony to pass out the pottery and to shake the hands of every finisher.    There were folks selling burritos and cold drinks and kids and families everywhere.   The race had an incredible family feel and appeal and I really enjoyed the laidbackness of the whole thing.   

I had never been to Acoma and it's a place I'd like to go back and explore again.   The terrain is unique and beautiful and it was a great way to spend a Monday morning.

Dale, the RD and me after the run.