Pre-Race Preparation!

Abraham ready to raise the horn’s call to start the half marathon

We want you to have a great experience at Santa Fe Thunder, so here are some tips and insights into what you might expect, so you can be thoroughly prepared!

Mid September in Santa Fe is typically dry, with mornings in the mid-40’s and daytime highs in the low 70’s. It is usually clear, with little wind.

Half marathoners can bring their sweats on the bus. Bring your Sport Systems bag to the starting line and tear off the sweats bag tag from your bib, attach it to your bag, and leave it with the starting line volunteers. Your bag will be waiting for you at the finish.

5k runners can drop their tagged bags at the starting/finish line at Buffalo Thunder.

All events start at 7:30 AM and, especially if it is clear out or if there is a breeze, the cold can be piercing. Likewise, the sun can be intense as the morning passes. There are aid stations every 2 miles with water and Gnarly Hydrate sports drink – be sure to hydrate! We will not have energy bars at the aid stations this year, so if you plan to eat on the run, please plan ahead and bring your calories with you.

It’s all downhill from here!

Santa Fe is nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at an elevation of 7,000 feet. The air is ‘thin’ and humidity typically low. Dehydration is the primary threat, which exacerbates the lack of oxygen. You should be aware of your fluid intake the week before Race day and make sure you stay well hydrated once you arrive. Effective sunscreen is very important as well, as the later miles are open with no tree cover.

Fortunately for those coming up from lower elevations, the finish line at Buffalo Thunder is at 6,000’. You won’t have to worry about starting too fast, as the first 2.5 miles climb about 300 feet. As you cross Highway 285 on the Paz Bridge in the vicinity of the beautiful outdoor Santa Fe Opera you will reach the high point of the course, about 7,300’ – almost a mile and a half high! Soon an expansive panorama will open up before you – the 10,000 foot high Jemez Mountains to your left, the red rock Rio Grande Valley below, and the 13,000-foot Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east. Your path ahead drops gradually but steadily past the famous Tesuque Village Market, through the Tesuque Pueblo, and all the way to Buffalo Thunder!

The steady drop can take its toll on your quads in the later miles, especially if you are dehydrated. Preparation will help! If you can, find a course where you can run downhill toward the end of your run, which will help prepare your muscles and joints for the course. Also, we are working to have masseuses at the finish line to work out any soreness you might experience.

There will be water, popsicles and bananas waiting for you at the finish line, along with your finisher’s medal designed by Bernice Gachupin of Jemez Pueblo – and perhaps an age group medal handmade by the Gachupin family (who made 150 medals for the half marathon AND Lightning 5K age group award winners!) Breakfast items and beverages will be available inside the Casino at the Turquoise Trail, where the awards ceremony and live entertainment will take place.

Until Sunday, smooth runnings!

The GRC team

By participating in Santa Fe Thunder, you are helping 100% volunteer non-profit Global Running Culture carry out our mission of bettering the lives of youth through the powers of sport and education in three communities where running is a vital part of the culture: northern New Mexico, the village of Matunget, Kenya, and Copper Canyon, Mexico.

Global Running Culture is preparing to build a school in co-founder Abraham Kosgei’s village of Matunget, Kenya, the culmination of a decade of sustained effort, including shipping our 72 HP tractor “Big Blue” to Kenya. Big Blue will be used to build the school and then power a farming business that will lift the village economy while providing operating income for the Kipkalwa School, founded by Abraham’s mom Margaret in 1967. To find out more, go to