Re-named as the Corrales Ditch Run, the race along the valley’s ditch banks long associated with the Corrales Harvest Festival this year will be held the Sunday before, on September 19. More than 200 runners are expected. As in the past, the event includes a half-marathon, a ten-kilometer and a five-k race, all starting and ending at the Corrales Recreation Center.

New this year is a one-kilometer race for the littlest runners, starting well after the bigger folks have dashed off. That will be a family “fun run” with  participants running around the rec center’s west soccer field. The half-marathon start time is 7:30 a.m., while the 10-k run begins at 8 a.m. and the five-k at 8:30. The youngest runners go at 10 a.m. Races depart from the ditch bank of the Corrales Acequia, at the west end of the Corrales Recreation Center.

The event, now in its 21st year, is organized as a fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of Corrales and its new partner this year, Dave Gives Back, established in memory of Dave Cook, the Corrales hiker who never returned from a perilous climb in Colorado in 2016. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXV No.16 October 8, 2016 “Search Halted for Missing Corrales Mountaineer.”)

Race packets can be picked up at Ex Novo Brewery Saturday, September 18 noon to 5 p.m. or at the Corrales Recreation center on the day of the race from 6:30 a.m. on. You can register for the Corrales Ditch Run online at http://www.register. chronotrack.com. Competitions are arranged by age groups. For the half-marathon age categories, are 19 and under, 20-39, 40-59 and 60 plus. For the 10-k race, age categories are 14 and under, 15-19 and 20-29.  For the 5-k, categories are 9 and under, 10-14, 15-29, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 plus.

The half-marathon will leave the rec center and head south along the Corrales Acequia to Applewood Road and then west to the Corrales Main Canal and  resume going south to Quirk’s Lane before turning north all the way to  Camino Todos los Santos where racers will reverse course back to the rec center. The 10k race follows much the same route, but only to Applewood on the south and Sagebrush on the north, from which runners will return along the Corrales Acequia ditch bank.

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The 5k route is south along the acequia to Applewood, then west to the Main Canal and then returning to the rec center via Ranchitos Road. For almost as long as there has been a Corrales Harvest Festival, there have been “runs”  to accompany it.  According to Sarah Cobb, who with Gary Mares and Rick Thaler organized the early runs, the ditch bank races began in the late 1980s.   The original runs were called “fun runs.”   For years, Gil’s Runners World  in Albuquerque organized and directed the races. However, what Sarah Cobb remembers most vividly were some faux pas in monitoring the runners’ route. 

One incident involved a race monitor who abandoned her post before the runners got to her; Cobb had to leap on her bicycle in hot pursuit of an entire errant pack and get them back on course.  “More than once after the start of the race and with the runners out on the trail, I would get word that the front runner was taking the pack in the wrong direction. I peddled off to try to find the string of runners sometimes heading towards Sandia Pueblo and sometimes heading south to Alameda!”

Tom Woodward, an early years volunteer who later chaired the Fun Run, recalls there were always two runs, a 5k and 10k, and from the beginning the course routes maximized the ditch banks. Generally around 200 runners participated, mostly serious runners who loved the fun of running along the dirt banks and in lush greenery. 

Although medals were originally given out, before long Corrales’ Hanselmann Pottery began contributing pottery as the awards. Hanselmann Pottery remained the valued source of most of the awards until about six years ago.  To continue this popular tradition, pottery pieces from other local area artists were handed out.  Cathy Veblen, of AnthroPottery for example, year after year has donated her pottery as the awards for the top female and male in each of the runs. Around 2011 the Kiwanis Club of Corrales assumed the administrative and production reins of the Harvest Festival, and that has included the ditch bank races as well.

This year, race sponsors include: Abrazo Homes,  Metric LLC, Right Sized Inventory, RKL Sales (The Tackman Family), Ruffwear, Cottonwood Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,  Raylee Homes,  Grady’s Performance Center,  The Yates Family,  French Funerals and Cremations, TriWest Fence, All Sick (a non-profit based in Corrales),  Flagstaff Cart Specialties,  Greta and Tom Keleher, Chris and Danielle Allen, Zach and Valerie Burkett, Joyce and Alan Weitzel and Gloria McConnell.

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