Tuesday, October 29, 2013

30th Annual Duke City Marathon - Oct. 2013

The Duke City Marathon took place a week ago Sunday. It was the 30th year of the event which is a milestone even beside the round numbers since it connects all the way back to the tail-end of the running boom. Duke City is quite a bit smaller than it was in the late eighties when we were all growing up, but it remains the largest marathon in the state with approximately 450 annual finishers, and the largest half marathon with approximately 1,200 runners, give or take a dozen runners each year in either race. Roughly 3,000 individual finishers in aggregate when adding in the 5K/10K runners, second in size only to the Run for the Zoo each spring.

Naturally, the big pre-race story in the Albuquerque Journal centered on Santa Fean Chris Chavez - because he’s raced every Duke City marathon ever run. That’s a thirty year streak. Damn impressive considering most marathoners are in a perpetual state of injury or injury maintenance, not to mention the Fall wedding season, vacations, work demands, etc. Think of all the obstacles to run that he somehow dodged or painfully accommodated the afternoon after running. There’s usually a handful of runners who amass streaks like this for a given race, but for Duke City, Chris is the only one. In his spare time, he patched together a nineteen year streak up at Pikes Peak dating back to '95, not just for the Sunday marathon but most years it included the double - the Ascent on Saturday (13.1mi) followed by the Marathon distance on Sunday. All of that is just ridiculous. He’s the only Big Tesuque runner still competing who ran in the inaugural race back in 1985 (twenty-nine years ago), and he's also the race director for the spring Amanda Lynne Byrne memorial races up in Pecos. Know who my go-to guy is for obscure questions about champion New Mexico runners from decades past? Chris. The guy knows everything.

Chris running out Albuquerque's Bosque Trail,
courtesy of Greg Sorber and the Abq Journal
Ok, so Chris is a badass and gets the lead pre-race Sports story in the Journal the day before the 30th edition of Duke City. Also buried in the article were quotes from Santa Fe’s Vinnie Kelley who talks about how Chris trains in the hills on the Upper Winsor and the Nambe watershed and how hard it is to string together thirty straight marathons and how Chris and himself have trained together on occasion over the years. So how’d Vin run in Sunday’s marathon?, only a 3hr 18min finish at altitude, to win the 60yr age group by thirty minutes. That’s an automatic qualifying time for any race in the country other than the Olympic Trials. Way to hammer Vin.

Lots of other nortenos in the race fields though I don't know them all well enough for a spotlight. Cordova's Senovio Torres took the men's 55-59 age group by thirteen minutes, 3hr 25min; and former Lobo and Santa Fean Shawna Winnegar dispatched the half marathon field to win by four minutes; 1hr 21min. Smokin' fast.

Related Posts:
 - Big Tesuque Trail Run Recap - 2013
  - La Luz Trail Run Recap - 2013
  - Pikes Peak Ascent - Race Report

View Duke City Marathon - Albuquerque, NM in a larger map

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