The second annual Socorro Souls of Sorrows 60km ultra-marathon took eleven runners through the traverse terrain between Magdalena and Socorro on Saturday, Nov.18.
The course features over 37 miles of technical trails with a 5,400 foot elevation gain, taking runners up to 9,700 feet in elevation. Starting at Highway 60 and Kelly Road in Magdalena, the runners make their way up to the Kelly mine, up the mountains where they pass just beneath North Baldy Peak. They go through Water Canyon, Langmuir Road, South Canyon, Box Canyon and finally find themselves on a trail connecting to the Socorro cross country course. From the rodeo complex they run into the Socorro Plaza for a cold one and pizza at the Capitol bar.
“Your time doesn’t stop until you have a beer,” Luis Contreras-Vidal joked with runners at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning while he was giving the breakdown of the race. Contreras-Vidal is the founder and director of the Socorro Trail Running Series.
The SSS ultra-marathon is an unofficial run and requires runners to be self-sufficient, which means runners are expected to be prepared to carry their essentials and make their way to the finish without markings. They do have access to three aid stations, some attended by volunteers, where they can fill up on water and snacks. Most runners use apps with a downloaded map to stay on the route. Given that the event is in November runners are expected to be prepared for all weather conditions and this year’s event was no exception. Runners faced a variety of weather while they traversed rocks, sand and mud.
“The event went great! Although the weather was harsh,” said Contreras-Vidal “ We experienced cold wind and rain during some portions of the run.”
He said that he had two runners from Magdalena, four from Socorro and five from Albuquerque.
“Local running legends Michael Corrales and Isaac Burleigh completed the course in a little over 7 hours.” Contreras-Vidal said.
One of the eleven participants, Isabel Morris Svoboda who has participated in several of the Socorro Trail Running Series said “This run from Magdalena, up and over the maggies, and down through Box Canyon to Socorro is really spectacular. There are incredible and very different views the whole way, and with the rain and sun showers we had it was particularly magical. We saw the most vivid rainbow near the middle of the route.”
Contreras-Vidal hopes to use this run as a proof concept for an official 62 plus mile race in Socorro County.
“There are two main motives for this run, the lack of 100km plus races in New Mexico and the fact that many small towns across the USA have seen their economy revive around long-distance foot races. Examples of this are Western States 100 California, Hardrock in Ouray, Colorado, and Leadville 100 in Colorado.” Vidal-Contreras said.
As for now, out of the Socorro Trail Running Series, only two races are official. This means participants need to pay an entry fee and a record of the finishing times is kept online. These races are the Blue Canyon Trail Run and La Jornada de las Quebradas. Contreras-Vidal hopes to eventually make the rest of the series official.
“I want to use a good portion of the profits to support our local teams, the maintenance of trails, as well as to increase accessibility to the outdoors for our local youth.” Contreras- Vidal said.
The next race in the series is Blue Canyon Trail Run on December 2nd. Contreras-Vidal said it’s the most beginner friendly race of the series as the distances on the race are not too long (10km, half marathon and 30km). He said that although the race takes place on a trail, the terrain is not hard.
He gets a lot of support from different groups including the BLM, Socorro Trails, Socorro Riders and Striders, The City of Socorro, his family, friends and volunteers.
“The community aspect of the Socorro trail running series is really special. Everyone pitches in and makes sure the race and the runners have all the support they need to finish, and Luis does the hard work of both running and coordinating everything.” said Morris Svoboda.
For more information and to sign up for races please visit: socorrotrailrunningseries.com