Race to the bottom (and back again) Sunday at Wild Rivers

(Courtesy Photo / Pick Your Poison Race)

Attention, trail Runners, hikers and fans of Wild Rivers Recreation Area: The 2nd Annual Pick Your Poison 5k/10k Trail Race launches Sunday (Oct. 7) at the Big Arsenic trail head in the Rio Grande National Monument outside Questa, New Mexico.

Organizer Kimber MacDonald, who started the race with husband Bill last year, said, “This is our second year and we expect double the runners, so that’s awesome!

“We started the race to support local non-profit groups including our new community theater and arts program for kids called Q-town Drama, All proceeds from the race go to support youth performing arts in Northern Taos County.

Area children recently performed “Pandora’s Fire” at the Wild Rivers Visitors Center Saturday (Sept. 29). (Courtesy Photo / Q-town Drama)
“We were also very motivated by our love of the Rio Grande Monument, and a long desire to see events at the river that encourage participation and protection of this amazing place. We are hoping the event grows even larger, and next year plan to include a mountain bike event and a kids fun run during the weekend.

Last year the race included the ubber-challenging La Junta Trail, however, the Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office has temporarily closed the La Junta Trail until further notice in order to address potential safety concerns on the trail. Undaunted, the MacDonalds have moved the 5- and 10-kilometer races to the Big Arsenic trail head, incorporating the Big Arsenic and Little Arsenic trails. According to the event website, the race features rugged gravel paths winding down into the Rio Grande Gorge.”Runners will pass ancient petroglyphs and sprint along the wild Rio Grande in an intimate way offered nowhere else. The run ends with an outrageous climb 780 feet back up to the mesa, culminating with switchbacks carved into the cliff wall….”

The 5k Race features 925 feet of total descent/ascent on a loop that includes a lung-busting last 3/4 mile 20-percent grade to finish line. The 10k Race features 1,365 feet of total descent/ascent with the same climb.

Register online here.

For more information, contact Kimber MacDonald at 575-770-2727 or kimbermacd@gmail.com

Saturday (Oct 6) 

  • 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Registration/Packet pick-up and QHS Drama Club Benefit Spaghetti Dinner at El Monte Carlo Lounge in Questa (cost is $7 per person)

Sunday (Oct 7) 

  • 6 – 8 a.m. On-site registration/packet pick-up, Wild Rivers Visitor Center
  • 9 a.m. Race start
  • 11 a.m. Awards Presentation

5k Event

  • $35 pre-registration is open until Oct. 5
  • $50 race-day registration

10k Event

  • $45 pre-registration until Oct. 5
  • $60 race-day registration

All participants will receive the 2018 Pick Your Poison jersey and swag bag. Overall and age class winners will receive Pick Your Poison medals/prizes.

The BLM day use fee is $3 per vehicle. An annual day use pass, good for the calendar year, is available for $20. Camping costs $7 per night for one vehicle, $10 for two. There is a maximum two vehicles and 10 people per site. (Additional vehicles may park in day-use parking areas for $3 per day. Annual day use passes do not apply to camping fees.

The Big Arsenic springs Campground is located at 36.681692, -105.683853, 15 miles outside Questa. Head north on NM 522 2.6 miles, turn left onto NM 378 W/State Rte 387
and drive 10.1 miles to Wild Rivers. When you reach a fork in the road, turn right to stay on NM 378. After .8 mile, turn right onto Big Arsenic. Drive another .2 mile, take a slight left to stay on Big Arsenic.

About Wild Rivers

According to the BLM website, the Wild Rivers Recreation Area is part of the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Visitors to the recreation area experience the beauty of the 800-foot Río Grande gorge, a deep canyon sliced into volcanic flows by the Río Grande. This area is rich with history, rugged beauty, and recreational opportunities. There is a visitor center, campgrounds, picnic areas, trails, and a Backcountry Byway. Several spectacular overlooks are found here, including La Junta Point, which is wheelchair accessible and provides one of the most dramatic views in the state, overlooking the confluence of the Red River and the Río Grande. Wild Rivers Recreation Area is open year-round. The Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day-Labor Day, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, contact the Visitor Center at 575-586-1150 or the BLM Taos Field Office at 575-758-8851.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs.