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Hoping to fill a void left when the Forest Service stopped permitting the La Luz Trail Run, the city of Albuquerque is launching a new trail run in the Sandia foothills later this month.
And city officials hope prize money ranging from $150 to $300 will lure potential runners.
The city is hosting the first Foothills 10 Mile Run on Nov. 13. The loop course will start near the Elena Gallegos Open Space and use Foothills Trails 365 and 366 as well as other city and Forest Service trails, said Susan Rice, the recreation facility and program operations manager for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“The first reason (for hosting the race) is that our Foothills Open Space is a tremendous world-class recreation resource particularly for walking, running and cycling. So, we very much want to take advantage of the foothills as a premier location for all kinds of recreation sporting events,” said Dave Simon, the director of Parks and Recreation. “The second main reason why we’re starting the Foothills 10 Mile Run is that the famous La Luz run has now been missing from the running scene for three years.”
Cibola National Forest officials stopped permitting the La Luz Trail Run after the 2019 race because the race cuts through the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. Forest officials have said that because the race was a commercial event, it should have never been allowed to be held in a wilderness area.
Members of the Albuquerque Road Runners, which used to put on the La Luz race, have asked the state’s congressional delegation to try to pass legislation to restore the La Luz Trail Run, which took runners from Forest Road 333 to the top of the La Luz Trail. It was one of the state’s most iconic footraces and would attract runners from near and far to test their legs and lungs on the 4,600-foot climb over nine miles.
“Our goal is not to replace the La Luz run, because that is a unique event. That climb, it’s such a unique event,” Simon said. “But we felt strongly that we could offer our own outstanding competitive running event that could complement the La Luz Run.”
More than 100 people have already signed up for the The Foothills 10 Mile Run, according to runsignup.com.
City officials are hoping to attract some talented runners with cash prizes. The top three men and women runners will rake in $300, $225 and $150, respectively. There are also age-group medals.
More information about the race can be found at tinyurl.com/3p9n9atk.
“Albuquerque should be known as a prime destination and host for outstanding outdoor sports and recreation events,” Simon said.