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NM Games executive director Trujillo starts out his tenure on the run

As previously reported, the New Mexico Games, the state’s Olympic-style sports festival, will not happen this year – a casualty of COVID-19.

New NM Games executive director Andres Trujillo, however, is not waiting until 2021 to get started.

The 2020 Retro Virtual Fun Run, Trujillo’s first effort, began on Tuesday and will continue through Dec. 31.

Trujillo, president and co-founder of the New Mexico Runners indoor soccer franchise, is taking over from longtime executive director Fred Hultberg, who retired after 30 years on the job. A Valley High School and University of New Mexico graduate, Trujillo has been on the NM Games board of directors since 2014.

Andres Trujillo, director of the New Mexico Games. (Photo courtesy of Andres Trujillo)

The virtual fun run, he said in a phone interview, is a way of keeping the Games in the public eye until they can return next year.

“It gives people something to do, COVID-safe. … We were just trying to come up with something cool and unique, and I really don’t think there’s a lot of virtual runs going on here locally.

“… The COVID-19 pandemic hit our state very hard,” Trujillo said in a news release, “and even though we cancelled the 2020 games, we as a board felt it was imperative we create an event that was safe and fun for athletes to participate in this year while limiting their exposure.”

Under Hultberg’s leadership, the New Mexico Games – in a state of near-collapse before he took over in 1991 – have prospered and grown exponentially.

Always, basketball was the main attraction and the financial lifeblood. Yet, the Games has also offered competition in sports and activities as diverse as arm wresting, pickleball, darts and table tennis.

Trujillo is eager to continue Hultberg’s work but also to put his own stamp on the Games.

“I’m looking forward to bringing a new energy and excitement for New Mexico athletes to be proud to participate in our games,” he said.

Entry fee for the virtual run – 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon – is $45. Participants who complete their run will receive a finisher’s medal from a past New Mexico Games, a T-shirt from a previous year (which may not match the year of the medal) and a bag from a previous year (which also may not match).

To register, or for more information, go to newmexicogames.org.

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