Every year since 2008, the Taos Ski Valley has scheduled an event that nearly defies logic. Held last year in association with their Oktoberfest Celebration on September 15th, the Taos Ski Valley Up and Over 10K Trail Run is just as it sounds. Participants run up and over one of the ski hills for 10 kilometers, gaining 2612 feet in altitude in the first three miles. After they reach the highest point on the run, they turn and run down. As the inviting commercial says, “It’s all downhill from here.”

2012 Oktoberfest, Taos Ski Valley, NMThe $30 entry fee grants the participant a fee tee shirt commemorating the event, lunch after the event, numerous other “goodies” and bragging rights to completing one of the highest altitude 10 K runs in the country. The run starts at 9,207 feet and ends up at just under 12,000 feet above sea level. After lunch, a favorite local band will play on the outdoor stage so the runners and their fans can dance the afternoon away. Last year’s event lists 107 finishers; the winner completing the course in one hour and one minute. The last finisher came in with a time of three hours, ten minutes—still a respectable time for such a feat!

Taos Ski Valley Up and Over Trail RunThe event is not associated with the Oktoberfest Celebration this year, but is being held on August 3rd as an event on its own. If you find yourself in the vicinity or northern New Mexico or southern Colorado, make it a point to stop by to participate or simply to watch those who do.

Taos Ski Valley Up and Over Trail RunTerry and I have decided to give it a go this year. As I am more of a hiker and walker than a runner, I have set several very realistic goals for this event. First, I will set my own pace. While I plan to start out at a jog (not a run), I give myself full permission to stop and walk when needed, which I am assuming will be early and often. I expect to walk up most of the first half, the ascent, until I reach the top. At that point I will turn and do my best to jog back down, taking care not to turn an ankle or pick up too much speed in the descent.

Taos Ski Valley, NMI have included photos of last year’s event with this post, including the live band playing on the outdoor stage, the booths selling enticing items and the ever-popular bouncy castle for the kids, free of charge. Whether you run or watch, the Up and Over Trail Run is an event not to be missed. If you can get yourself to northern New Mexico on August 3rd, do so. You will not be disappointed. And please wish us luck—I suspect we will need it!

Read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.

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