Cedro Peak Ultra Marathon 45k Race Report

The Cedro Peak Ultra Marathon 45 · Saturday April 7, 2012 in Tijeras, New Mexico.

The car’s temperature gauge read 37 degrees and it felt like it. I turned in my drop bag, checked into the race, and retreated back to the car with my buddies. We decided to wait until five minutes to the start of the race to head to the starting line.

The race was set to start to at 6 a.m. There was an EZ UP with Christmas lights directly behind the starting line. The majority of the runners huddled together under it making last minute adjustments to their watches, headlamps, and gear. As the race director thanked his wife and the volunteers, the clock ticked away to zero. With the sound of watches being started we slowly made our way down a congested narrow path. It was slow going; some runners weaved in and out of the traffic jam. A few even hurdled over a log to jockey for position.

After crossing the parking lot and heading into the forest, you could see the beams from headlamps and hear the chit chatter and excitement in runner’s voices as our journey began. The 45 mile (72.42k) and 28 mile (45k) races started simultaneously, so it was hard to know who was in which race.

As part of our SWAG bags, we were all given beer glasses that said," I love rocks." It was very obvious why early into the run as I navigated the rocky trail in the dark. Early in the race, some of the front runners took an accidental detour before realizing they were off the course. Some of them quickly made there way back on the correct course and regained their positions at the front of the pack.

I thought it was cool to be running in the mountains as the sun was coming up. I was now able to see the forest around me. I could also see and smell a camp fire as I approached the first aide station at mile 5. I had my water bottle filled up and ate a piece of PB & J.

After leaving the aide station I began to climb over some very rocky terrain, nearly tripping a few times, I decided that day dreaming on this trail could be dangerous. As the trail descended, I was really impressed with the terrain and scenery. I tried not to think about the altitude but could feel its presence for sure.

As I came into the aid station at mile 12, I saw a few of the front runners from the 28 mile race already on the second trip into the aide station. I left the aide station and nearly reached the trail head when I heard a loud, “Hey” and knew it was meant for me. I immediately turned around and yelled, “98.” All runners were supposed to check in and out of each aide station.

Once again I was running up a steep but manageable trail. The trees on both sides made a sort of canopy. It was still a bit chilly out especially in the shade of the trees. A few more runners were making there way down the trail and I began to count them. I had to remind myself to run my pace and not worry about my place. With 2 ½ miles to the turn around and mid point of the race, I felt good and was keeping a good pace.

The climb to the summit of Cedro Peak was a dirt service road. Near the top I took a moment to enjoy the view of the mountains all around and the forest below; part of me wished I had camera. After running down the trail on the back side of the peak, the race continued on a dirt road. When I got to the turn around I was in good spirits and ready to summit Cedro Peak for the second time.

As I entered the Cedro Peak aide station for the second time, I contemplated taking off my long sleeve top but opted to keep it on. Before leaving I was happy to see they had mini Payday candy bars. I ate one and shoved a couple in my pocket for later. I now had 12 plus miles till the finish line.

I wanted to push my pace a little but also knew I should conserve some energy for the last few climbs. I was now encountering some muddy parts on the trail. I realized those areas must have been frozen earlier in the morning. I had now been on the trail a little over 4 hours.

The trail was now heading down hill. I decided it was time to push my pace. For a few miles I was running close to 8 minute miles. I became even more encouraged after passing some runners. As I got to the bottom of the mountain, the trail became more flat and I was now exposed to the sun. I realized I was low on water. Looking at my watch I knew I was not far from the last aide station, but it would be a steep climb to get there.

When I got to the last aide station there were several runners there. The aide station workers were so friendly. One runner asked, “exactly how long is 45k?” He was thinking the same thing I was; this course is a bit longer.

I left the aide station thinking I should have 5 miles to go, but knowing it might be closer to 6. The last few miles were all up hill and I was now mentally pushing myself to the finish. When I heard a cowbell ringing I knew the finish was close. I crossed the road and came across the finish line in 6 hours 49 seconds. After getting my finishers hat, I walked over to the picnic area where hamburgers and hot dogs were being grilled. I quickly spotted a keg, grabbed a cup and enjoyed a beer. Thank you Marble Brewing for sponsoring the race!

I must say this race was well worth the trip from Arizona. Next year, I plan to return and run the 45 mile race. The aide station volunteers were amazing. The trail was well marked and even with the rocky terrain, was run able. It took me and my buddies around 6 hours to run the race and 7 ½ hours to drive home, but like I said, it was WORTH IT!

Much Thanks to the Albuquerque Road Racers for such a fine race.
Also thanks to Tim and Giles for putting up with me again, congrats on your race and wish you two the best at Zane Grey.


  1. Thanks for running the race. Great job and great report. The course was exactly 45.0 km according to my GPS :)


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