Albuquerque, NM (July 27, 2012) - When London fires up the Olympic torch this evening, Albuquerque residents and visitors are bound to get fired up about the race season taking place in our backyard. Albuquerque’s active environment offers many opportunities for athletes and amateurs to compete for themselves.

Albuquerque’s high desert location offers an excellent training location for athletes of all types with 5,000-6,000 ft. elevation and dry sunny days. Our four mild seasons and picturesque mountains provide an excellent backdrop for training runs and races.

"Some people may not realize that Albuquerque is a training ground for many high performance athletes due to our climate and elevation," said Dan Ballou, Director of Sports Marketing at the Visit Albuquerque. "Our city, in fact, is host to elite competitions including the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in the winter, which features some athletes that we will be seeing on TV in the coming weeks competing in outdoor track events in London. This really is an ideal outdoor recreation city, so it's no surprise we host so many athletic events."

Over the next few months, Albuquerque races offer opportunities for all types of athletes. August highlights include the 47th Annual La Luz Trail Run where 400 lottery-selected runners challenge themselves to race from 6,500 to 10,678 feet elevation and the inaugural Albuquerque Color Run 5K where finishers look like they ran through the rainbow.

September brings the New Mexico flavored Chips and Salsa Half Marathon and Albuquerque's first Hot Chocolate Run where race finishers indulge in hot cocoa and chocolate fondue.

Along with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®, October in Albuquerque also means the Big 5 Duke City Marathon, New Mexico’s largest and longest-running marathon. We wrap up the fall season with the annual Day of the Tread Halloween-themed running and cycling event on October 28th.

While these races take place in the fall, competitions in Albuquerque occur all year ‘round. And while chocolate fondue and bodies splotched i n bright colors may not compare to Olympic gold, for those of us that didn't quite make the Olympic cut, these victories might be just as sweet.

For a more comprehensive look at all of the race opportunities taking place in Albuquerque over the next three months, see our Get Up and RUN! pinboard on Pinterest.

Albuquerque Olympic Connections

Track athlete Jarrin Solomon will compete in the 4x400 meter relay. He is an Albuquerque native and former University of New Mexico athlete. See complete story.

Albuquerque’s Baila! Baila! ballet folklorico troupe, along with Mariachi Buenaventura and vocalist Reynaldo Maestas, are headed to London to perform. The dancers were selected two years ago to participate. Read the complete story here.