What an enchanting race! Colorful balloons filling the air, friendly runners, mild temperatures, running along the Rio Grande,
and Albuquerque's 300th birthday party at the finish line. I ran the 1/2 and that was plenty of running for my first race above sea level - 4900 feet above sea level.
Here are some of the sights captured along the way.

Approaching Balloon Fiesta Park and the start of the race - temps in the low 50s - burrrrr

The runners drive into the Park past the balloon discovery center and museum

Balloon crews begin preparations

A Scottish flyer

Testing out the heat source

The Turkey balloon is inflated

The balloons begin to take shape on the launch field

I counted between 40 and 50 balloons. During the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, approximately 1000 balloons are launched.

I met Kevin before the race, and he was kind enough (as everyone is in New Mexico) to explain more about New Mexico and the annual balloon fiesta.
Thank you, Kevin.
I see from the race results that you ran the race you wanted to run. Congratulations!

Balloons begin to fill the field

Notice the man walking underneath the balloon on the right. I was a bit nervous watching him, but he walked out unscathed.

Ready to launch

I was amazed at how the other runners seemed not to notice the balloons. I guess when you live in Albuquerque you become accustomed to this beauty.

And they're off. I felt for a moment as if I was watching The Wizard of Oz.

Now that the balloons are launching, the race start cannot be far behind.

The horn sounds at 7:00 a.m. (ish)

The balloons pass by the runners.

Looking back at the launch field

Balloons flying over the balloon center

The balloons were visible for quite some time as we exited Balloon Fiesta Park and headed west toward the Rio Grande River

Most of the race was spent running along the Rio Grande Trail, next to the River. The balloons could be seen heading south over Old Town and the Finish.
The course on foot: 2 and 1/2 hours
The course by balloon: 20 minutes

These metal barriers run along much of the Rio Grande River. I spent a lot of time wondering what their purpose was.
Recently I learned they provide erosion control. Thanks, Inspector Larry.

This is what happens when you ask your road crew to hold your camera for a second! Mile 8, and it was still chilly enough to warrant long sleeves.

Running under I-40 approaching mile 11. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to breathe at this point of the race.

My road crew caught my finish at 2:26:16. I felt a bit sad to be finishing this beautiful race. Next year, I'm running the full marathon.

These women are Susan and Trinka. I met Trinka early in the race, and the two of us were running at about the same pace. Her sister, Susan, was running ahead of both of us. Trinka was an absolute delight to speak with. She was laughing because I kept stopping to take pictures of all the beautiful sights. She had become accustomed to much of the beauty. As I would finish taking pictures and get back on the trail, I knew I would finish in good time if I kept Trinka's energy belt in my sights. Thank you, Trinka!

The sombrero and tennis shoe finisher's medal looks right at home hanging from a red chili ristra.
A great race!





A1A Marathon

Alien Chase

Bataan Memorial Death March

Chicago Marathon

Day of The Tread

Fiesta de Albuquerque

Honolulu Marathon

Miami Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

Marathon of the Palm Beaches

Marine Corps Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

Prague Marathon

Smokey Bear Fun Run