2014 Santa Fe Thunder Honoree

Joseph Karnes and raconteur Steve “King of the Mountain’ Gachupin, Jemez/Pecos Pueblo Feast Day, Pecos Pueblo, 2015

Steve “King of the Mountain” Gachupin

During our first visit, after talking running and life for awhile, Coach Gachupin took us outside and pointed at the mountains surrounding his home in Jemez Pueblo. “I make my own trail. Don’t follow nobody, just me and my dog.” He took that approach 6 years in a row at the Pike’s Peak Marathon, winning each time. Steve is a coach, grandfather, chief, enchanting story teller, and as his nephew Myron said after running his first Pike’s Peak, “somehow he defied gravity”. Each year, Steve’s wife Bernice and their family bless us by hand making and painting 150 age group awards, 3-deep in 5 year groups, for both the Half Marathon and the Lightning 5K.

We are fortunate that Jemez Pueblo has two feast days per year which they have shared with us. Running is central to the Jemez culture and lifestyle: it is what is done. Learning about the way things are done is a profound experience and carrying out programs to help the young athletes of the Pueblo is an energizing and rewarding endeavor.