Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Delays in Pending Santa Fe Trail Projects

Several Santa Fe city trail projects that appeared to have been slated for work prior to year-end 2015 have yet to move forward. There's sadness and disappointment each time I'm running errands on the bike scanning for the expected orange barrels and flags. These things are complex but with planning complete and funding in-hand the recent delays are difficult to explain. Pending projects include the Acequia Trail Underpass, the Pen Road connector, Dale Ball connector at the SF Canyon Preserve, various signage, etc.

My working theory on the stalled work is that the city's current financial problems are creating a freeze, and this affects the planned projects even though funds for trail construction source from bond money rather than city operating funds and shouldn't be affected by the coming budget cuts. The full reason is likely some combination of staffing uncertainty and a defensive political posture from the Council who would ultimately approve the ground-breaking on these projects.

A review of the Jan. minutes from the Bicycles and Trails Advisory Committee (BTAC) shows little if any discussion on the anticipated projects and no indication of construction planning. The next BTAC meeting is tomorrow evening (Wed 2/17), 530pm at City Hall. Should you ever have the itch to show up and discuss a trail topic know that public comments are welcome and are generally the third item on the evening's agenda after roll-call and approval of minutes.

Related Posts:
 - Acequia Trail Underpass Scheduled this Fall (Sep 2015)
 - Trail Improvement Page
 - Arroyo Chamiso Underpass Nears Completion (Jun 2012)
 - Santa Fe Rail Trail Improvements (Sep 2015)

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Mexicans at the Olympic Trials Marathon

Pay Smyth - 2015 XTERRA worlds
This year's Olympic Marathon Trials run Saturday in Los Angeles. Organizers report a record number of qualifiers (457) for the race, 211 men and 246 women of which a total of 373 appear entered to run. There will be a small New Mexican contingent out there including Magdalena Donahue (Sandoval) of Albuquerque/Los Alamos, Patrick Smyth of Utah/Santa Fe, and the Navajo Nation's Linnabah Snyder.

For Donahue this is her second Trials. She competed in Houston in 2012 but didn't finish the race, running three months pregnant at the time. Her qualifying time has improved though she's just four months removed from delivering her second child and a recent defense of her PhD dissertation. To be considered a national-class athlete in this context is somewhat extraordinary. Her father won this race in 1980. A recent Q&A with the Duke's Track Club can be found here, Magdalena's insight and training updates can be found here.

Donahue's personal photo-shop effort - 2012 Olympic Trials
Smyth has recently moved to Santa Fe to train with Ryan Bolton and his group of elites. He's originally from Utah, ran at the University of Notre Dame (HOW 'BOUT THEM IRISH!), and in his brief pro career has run World Cross Country (36th), collected 1st and 2nds at the US Mountain Running Championships (10th at Worlds), and is the three-time XTERRA world trail running champion.

Linnabah Snyder
Don't know much of Snyder other than she made it happen by one second with a 2:44:59 finish at the California Int'l Marathon, and will be on the line in LA tomorrow. Whole lot of respect for a runner that can get it done at that level.

NBC will be carrying the race live tomorrow, 1100am MT. All three 2012 Olympians on the women's side are running (Flanagan, Goucher, Devila). Meb Keflezighi is the only returning Olympic marathoner from 2012 on the men's side, Dathan Ritzenhein represented the U.S. in 2008 but finished fourth in the 2012 trials and later qualified in the 10,000m.

Men's 2016 Qualifiers
Women's 2016 Qualifiers

Update: I'm told Craig Curley of the Navajo Nation will be running as will UNM alums Shadrack Biwott and Chris Barnicle. Good luck to all.

Updated Results: Biwott 7th, 2:15:23; Smyth 8th, 2:15:26; Curley 98th, 2:42:55; Magdalena Donahue, DNF; Linnabah Snyder, DNF.
Full results here

Related Posts:
 - Olympic Marathon Trials (2012)
 - Armijo Runs to an Olympic Trials Qualifier
 - A Brief Meeting with Billy Mills
 - Meb Wins Boston

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Running Times Signs Off

The Running Times has ceased publication as of this last January edition and I am seriously bummed. Editions remain in news stands at the Running Hub and elsewhere. The last pure running publication, pure in the sense that a fresh copy of the RT best conveyed that running meant something. Its articles and writing best captured the sense of athlete performances in context of the sport, of the relevant history, and of whom was leading its newest charge. Other outlets will fill the void but they're varied and dispersed in a sport that carries niche attention. A sad day.

Gracing the final cover with Des Devila was an inspired choice. An everyman that penned her own arrival in a dramatic finish on Boylston. Like many that led the way before her, she broke into the elite from obscurity, years of careful ground work in place, and with her the intense belief that she alone could wear the champion's laurel.

No other publication or outlet brought the weight of RT. The sport will be different in its absence.


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