Twists and Turns at the Jemez Half Marathon

2011 La Sportiva Mountain CupWe dare say that this weekend’s La Sportiva Mountain Cup race at the Jemez Half Marathon in Los Alamos, New Mexico was the most exciting series race yet this year. Not only are more and more top series competitors showing up as the season progresses (see women’s race), but there were lead changes in both the men’s and women’s races… though for quite different reasons. In the end, more than 200 runners finished this grueling up-and-down course in the Jemez Mountains.

Jemez Half Marathon Elevation ProfileTwo ultra events – a 50k and 50 miler – accompanied the Mountain Cup race, with Nick Clark setting a new course record in the 50 miler with a time of 8:07 (race report).

After kicking things off with our LSMC race coverage, we’ll take a look at the Mountain Cup standings. Next, we’ll move on to our La Sportiva shoe giveaway contest before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.

The Race
Women’s Race

Erica Baron - 2011 Jemez Half Marathon

Erica Baron after winning the 2011 Jemez Half Marathon.

But for Erica Baron, the top two women – Megan Kimmel and Ashley Arnold – would have been the same for the third Mountain Cup race in a row. Ah, but Baron was there and she bested the both of them. The Jemez course is, to put it simply, one huge climb followed an equally huge descent. Baron took it easy early, sitting back as sixth woman for the short approach to the trail before moving up to run with Kimmel at the front of the race. Those two hung together until the upper portion of the climb when Baron took off. A local from Los Alamos, Baron saved herself to let loose on the descent and that she did. There was no catching her as she won in 1:48:39.

Kimmel (1:50:22) finished less than two minutes back, while Ashley Arnold (1:59:42) held on to third. We use Ashley’s first name again as here sister, Cynthia (2:01:35) who was running her second series race of the year, would have finished right behind Ashley if series regular Rachel Cieslewicz (2:01:18) hadn’t passed her in the final half mile to take fourth.

Women’s Top Five

  1. Erica Baron – 1:48:39
  2. Megan Kimmel – 1:50:22
  3. Ashley Arnold – 1:59:42
  4. Rachel Cieslewicz – 2:01:18
  5. Cynthia Arnold – 2:01:35

Men’s Race
Jared Scott and Bernie Boettcher ran together for most of the first half of the race. Similar to Baron in the women’s race, Scott pulled away from Boettcher near the top of the climb and held that lead on the descent. Unfortunately, Scott took a wrong turn in the final mile of course. He still managed to cross the finish line first… but from the wrong direction. He did not return to the course.

Boettcher (1:40:36) was the first to cross the line from the correct direction and was awarded the win. Daniel Goding (1:41:12) took second hot on Boettcher’s heels, while Los Alamos’s own Bradley Skidmore (1:44:34) finished third.

Jemez Half Marathon 2011 men

The men's top three from the Jemez Half Marathon (l-r) Bradley Skidmore, Bernie Boettcher, Daniel Goding.

Men’s Top Five

  1. Bernie Boettcher – 1:40:36
  2. Daniel Goding – 1:41:12
  3. Bradley Skidmore – 1:44:34
  4. Brent Broome – 1:45:25
  5. Chip Cooper – 1:48:43

Full Results and Additional Reports
Full results are available.

Nancy Hobbs attended the race and wrote this excellent article.

Jemez Half Marathon 2011 top runners

Jemez Half Marathon winners (l-r) - Ashley Arnold, Erica Baron, Megan Kimmel, Bernie Boettcher, Daniel Goding, and Bradley Skidmore.

La Sportiva Extras
La Sportiva sold out of its Going the Distance tech tee shirt sales, which raised over $700 for the Los Alamos Volunteer Land Trust, a local trail stewardship organization.

The La Sportiva Standout award was presented to Gina Ortiz, a volunteer EMT who’d provided medical care at the Jemez for the past 6 years before finally running the race this year. Our sources report that she ran in honor of a woman who recently passed away from cancer and who’d planned to run a trail race in each of the 50 states.

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings
Here are the unofficial LSMC standings through 6 races.

Boettcher took advantage of being the sole male scorer at the race to move from fourth to second in the series standings. Now, each of the top three men have three scoring races apiece, which puts them in a great place for comparisons. To maximize points, Ryan Woods, Boettcher, and Jason Bryant each need to run two of the final four series races. Woods has a fairly commanding lead with Bryant needing to step up to best Boettcher. Jared Scott is the only other runner who looks to be within striking distance of the top three.

  1. Ryan Woods – 64 points (3 races – Did not race the Jemez Half)
  2. Bernie Boettcher – 51 pts (3 races – 22 pts from the Jemez Half)
  3. Jason Bryant – 43 pts (3 races – Did not race the Jemez Half)
  4. Jared Scott – 39 pts (2 scoring races – Did not score at the Jemez Half)
  5. Waylon Calabrese – 20 pts (1 race – Did not race the Jemez Half)

With her win at Jemez, Megan Kimmel all but assured herself another La Sportiva Mountain Cup title. Ashley Arnold, currently in third, is the only woman with a chance of catching her, but only if Megan doesn’t race again (doubtful) and Ashley runs two more races (likely). Ashley has yet to beat Megan in three series matchups this year. Arnold is, however, in a good position to shot for Rachel Cieslewicz’s second spot, as she’s within one point of Cieslewicz, but has run one less race.

Overall, the top three women held there respective positions. Both Erica Baron and Cynthia Arnold moved into a three-way tie with Alison Bryant for fifth. It’s out understanding that Baron will not be competing in other cup races, while Bryant is quite likely to run additional races. We don’t know what Cynthia Arnold’s races plans are.

  • 1. Megan Kimmel – 91 points (4 races – 23 pts from the Jemez Half)
  • 2. Rachel Cieslewicz – 58 pts (4 races – 15 pts from the Jemez Half)
  • 3. Ashley Arnold – 57 pts (3 races – 19 pts from the Jemez Half)
  • 4. Annette Bednosky – 35 pts (2 races – Did not race Don’t Fence Me In)
  • T-5. Erica Baron – 28 pts (1 race – 28 pts from the Jemez Half)
  • T-5. Alison Bryant – 28 pts (2 races – Did not race the Jemez Half)
  • T-5. Cynthia Arnold – 28 pts (2 races – 11 pts from the Jemez Half)

Official Mountain Cup standings can be found here. La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
La Sportiva logoJoey of Charlottesville, VA takes home a pair of  La Sportiva Wildcats from last week’s shoe giveaway. We hope you love ’em, Joey!

This week’s Jemez course was highly technical with most of the top competitors having taken at least one fall. Men’s winner Bernie Boettcher reportedly took two falls, while women’s winner Erica Baron took one as did runner up Megan Kimmel, who was heard to say “I fell, but at least it was soft where I fell.”

Perhaps, all these runners could have benefited from La Sportiva’s terrain absorbing MorphoDynamic technology found in the Quantum racing shoe. If you’d like to win and try out the Quantums yourself? Simply leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we write about the next Mountain Cup race, the Rothrock Challenge on June 4th outside of State College, Pennsylvania. [iRunFar’s Bryon Powell will be attending this race!] As a reminder, if you enter to win the Quantums you’ll also automatically be eligible to win the grand prize at the end of August. Read up on the La Sportiva Mountain Cup giveaway grand prize.

Call for Comments
If you’ve ever run any of the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs, please leave a comment letting everyone know what you think about the event.

The La Sportiva Mountain Cup

There are 146 comments

  1. Jason D.

    Put me down for an entry please!

    As an aside, the schedule shows the Stanford Rock race on 24 July in Tahoe City, but the PCTR schedule has the Table Rock race on 23 July in Stinson Beach. Not sure which is the most up to date.

    Jason D.

    Magalia, CA

  2. Ryan

    Tough break for Jared. I'm guessing he made his wrong turn by going right up the paved hill that the race started off going down. It'd have taken 10-12min to turn around and head all the way back around. I guess that is just going to make the remaining races all that much more competitive.

    Ryan Woods

    Boone, NC


    Yeah Ryan, that is exactly what happened. I led the whole race, I came out of the tunnel and saw flags going up the paved hill to the right, and there were no flags leading to the correct way to the left. Bernie told me that he saw flags leading left but it was only after he made the left hand turn. The race director even had the course remarked after I finished so that no one else would make the same mistake. I felt that the whole course was poorly marked because markers were far and few between, I constantly had to look back to make sure people behind me were following me, meaning it was difficult for me to run my fastest. I felt like I was at a disadvantage for leading the race, but that's how it goes I guess. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, it should be pretty competitive.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Jared,
      Sorry about your frustrating race day. I hope you're able to make it to a bunch of the remaining LSMC races. You participation will make those races and the series even more exciting. Maybe I'll see you out at Rothrock.

      Ps. I "led" a 41 mile road race on Saturday and would have been lost a few times had my jedi-course sense not kicked in… or, perhaps, I not made lucky guesses. Even when you stay on course, uncertainty plays with mind.

      1. Ryan

        Prerace day last year I ran from that tunnel out on the course to the intersection of the big loop and then some. Race day I warmed up that final loop of said confunsion. Really helped me get a feel for that course for almost everything but the big ups and downs which didn't have intersections. Don't sweat it too much, looks like you'll have your opportunities to make up points later on. Jason Bryant took the biggest hit in his competition with Bernie as he lost a big 5 points. I guess you get bonus points for beating a top ten who DNF's or is DQ'ed?

  4. Kay

    Kay Allen

    Seattle, WA


    Would love to see video of the runners tackling that ascent and descent. I was rewatching the Youtube clips from the Laurel Springs 2009 USATF 10k trail championships last night and it was really striking seeing how the frontrunners tackled aspects of the trail in comparison to the rest of the pack.

  5. Bryon Powell

    I'm far from the official word, but I'd think that bonus points would be awarded for finishing ahead of anyone in the top 10 who took off from the start line. DNSs shouldn't be in play, but once you're out there, you're a competitor. I know it wasn't the case last weekend, but, if this weren't how it was scored, one could game the bonus points. A top-ten runner could try to beat a close series competitor (say within 3 points), but if he or she was behind with even a few meters left he or she could drop out to deny the close series competitor the bonus points… provided, of course, he or she would hit five races without finishing the race in question.

  6. Henry Bickerstaff

    I did not figure I would get a free pair from you so I bought a pair of Quantum's to wear for the WS training runs over Memorial Day weekend. I wore them Saturday and Monday and wore my Crosslites on Sunday. The Quantums made me feel like I was running on a cushion of pine needles all day. My feet never felt tired. It is a fantastic shoe that fits well and sheds water fast. I will be wearing these when I toe the WS starting line in June. My only concern is how many miles I can put on them.

    If I do win I will take another pair.

    Henry Bickerstaff

    Alva, OK

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