Between its trail system and optimal running weather, Albuquerque is a favorite city for elite and everyday runners alike. Never too hot, too cold, or too rainy, the weather permits yearlong running along any of Albuquerque's many trails. Competitive runners can even try to outrun their sometime neighbors: roadrunners! The state bird of New Mexico is, appropriately enough, also the name of Albuquerque's largest open running club, the Albuquerque Road Runners.
One must-do for Albuquerque runners is an early-morning run during the International Balloon Fiesta. Running in the crisp October air, with mesmerizing balloons dotting the blue skies, is an experience like no other.
Elite Running in Albuquerque
The "Shangri-La of distance running," according to the editors of Runner's World magazine (in their book "Going Long"), Albuquerque has been the training site of many a champion. Albuquerque's high altitude--over 5,000 feet--makes it optimal for training. Going Long discusses how 17 Olympians from seven countries trained for the 1996 Olympics in Albuquerque. Among the many running greats who have trained in Albuquerque are longtime marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe; American-national-record-holder in the mile Alan Webb; and Ibrahim Hussein, the first African to win the Boston Marathon (in 1988).
Hussein is an alumnus of the University of New Mexico, which is nationally ranked for cross-country and track. In 2015, the UNM women's cross-country team became national champions, winning the NCAA Women's Division 1 Cross-Country Championship.
Albuquerque is also proud to host the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships (February 16-18, 2018, at the Albuquerque Convention Center). Hundreds of the nation's top indoor track and field athletes come together to compete for the top spots at the championships, which have been held in Albuquerque six of the past eight years.
With a 50-mile activity loop nearing completion, Albuquerque's trail system is big and growing. Below are just some of Burqueños' favorite running spots.
Trails along the Rio Grande: The 16-mile Paseo del Bosque Trail runs along and near the Rio Grande, in the beautiful Bosque. Or you can venture off the paved path and onto the Bosque's dirt trails.
- Foothills trails: The Sandia Mountains have more than 150 miles of trails. Trails in the Sandia Foothills at the base of the mountains provide varied running--and the potential to see fascinating desert wildlife amid the cacti.
- Albuquerque Academy Loop: This popular 3.3-mile trail loops around the Albuquerque Academy.
- La Luz Trail: For elite runners, the strenuous La Luz Trail in the Sandia Mountains is 8-9 miles one way, with a steep elevation climb and phenomenal views.
Albuquerque races include the popular events below. For a more comprehensive list of local races, please visit the Albuquerque Road Runners' race calendar.
- Run for the Zoo: May 6, 2018
- La Luz Trail Run: August 5, 2018
- Chips and Salsa Half Marathon, 10k, 5K and Kids K: September 9, 2018
- Duke City Marathon: October 21, 2018
If you're training for a race, take advantage of the opportunities for cross-training, strengthening and stretching. Albuquerque has numerous excellent yoga studios, as well as municipal city pools and gyms throughout the metropolitan area.
Pre- and Post-Run Treats
Running works up an appetite! The Grove Café and Market fills up with runners after the Duke City Marathon, and with good reason: Brunch offerings include healthy selections like avocado toast or smoked salmon, as well as indulgent options such as pancakes with crème fraiche. If you're in a particularly celebratory mood, make the most of the Bloody Mary Bar at Scalo Northern Italian Grill.