(and marathon, half-marathon, 10k & 5k)

Monday, January 1st, 2024  at 8:00 am for the 50k, maybe 9:00 am for other distances (marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k)

The 2023 running of the Foothills Fat Ass races went well, considering how late in the year we started planning for them. Mark, Jason and Roleen did a great job of manning the aid station and home base. I’m already planning the 2024 edition. We’ll keep what worked and fix what didn’t.

Preliminary results from the 2023 running of the Foothills 50k are on Webscorer. There’s a page for the longer distances and for the shorter distances. There are two different pages because the longer distances were started from one location and the shorter distances were started from a different location, an hour later. This was a compromise that sort of worked, but it kind of short-changed the shorter distance people, since they didn’t get to finish at a place with food, beverages and other runners. On the other hand, the shorter distance people got to run on trails the entire time, whereas the 50k people had to run around ten miles on road.

So, although it was an honor to be able to use my house as the start and finish, I’m hoping for a better start and finish for 2024 that will allow everyone to start at the same time and allow everyone to run on trails (except the small section of road between the southern and northern portions). For now, put the date on your calendar and check this web page occasionally.

This page was most recently updated on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023. Specifically, the text above this paragraph was adjusted to make it clear that there will be a Foothills Fat Ass on January 1st in 2024. The text below hasn’t yet been changed, so people who visit this page can see how 2023 was done.

Yes, it’s happening once again in 2023. There isn’t yet a Facebook event for it, and there may not be. This year we’re giving Perky and Prince Charming a break and the run will not be starting at (or finishing at, or visiting) their house. Instead, my (Cliff Matthews) house will be the start and finish for the 50k and after party. The other distances will start at the Michael Emery Trailhead, as mentioned below.

This is a free event. All results for each distance will be posted to webscorer, but we’ll be using self-reported times. This is more of a social event than a race, so feel free to run (or walk) as quickly or as slowly as you want, although be aware that the aid station closes at 1:30pm.

There has been a Foothills Fat Ass 50k every year since 2012, so this year’s event is meant to continue the tradition. If you like talking about running more than running itself, feel free to skip the running and just come to the after party and share your stories from 2022. You’ll have an eager audience.

No Course Marking

Like last year, there will be no course marking for the 2023 event. In fact, all distances will be open courses, meaning you can choose your own route, subject to restrictions as posted below for each distance.

One Aid Station (with drop bags)

There will be one aid station at the Menaul Trailhead Parking starting at 9:30am. It will remain open until 1:30pm or until the last runner is through (on the way north), whichever comes first. In other words, the aid station will be torn at 1:30pm or sooner if it’s no longer needed.

The aid station will have water, a few munchies and Tailwind powder (and a scoop) so you can mix it in whatever strength you want. There may be hot water, but that’s not yet guaranteed. The aid station is primarily there to help the 50k and marathon runners, but it’s available to others as well.

Anyone who wants to have a drop bag at that aid station just needs to get the drop bag to 8808 Pony Express Trail NE before 8:30am and it’ll be taken to the aid station by 9:30am.


Here is the suggested 30.75 mile route. This is not, however, a virtual race. To officially finish, you must:

  1. Start at 8808 Pony Express Trail NE at 8am
  2. Go south and complete the southernmost 365 loop
  3. Go north to the base of the Tram
  4. Return to 8808 Pony Express Trail NE

Here’s the GPX file for the above suggested route.


The only difference from marathon and the 50k is that it starts at the Michael Emery Trailhead:

  1. Start at the Michael Emery Trailhead at 9am
  2. Go south and complete the southernmost 365 loop
  3. Go north to the base of the Tram
  4. Return to 8808 Pony Express Trail NE

According to AllTrails, the distance of the suggested course is 25.75 miles. If you’re a stickler for details and you want to make sure you run at least 26.2 miles, you will need to use a GPS device to see if you need to make up any extra distance, but you do not need to do that to be listed on webscorer.

Since the marathon course is point-to-point, you may park at my house (8808 Pony Express Trail) and get driven to the start. The ride will leave at 8:30am, so, if you’re going to use this option, get to my house no later than 8:15am so you’ll have tine to get checked in.

Half Marathon

The half marathon starts at Michael Emery at 9am. You may then run whatever combination of trails you want to get 13.1 miles, or you can do the heavy half option (around 15 miles, I think), which is to run the same route as is suggested for the 50k and marathon (i.e. down to and around the southernmost 365 loop), but starting and finishing at Michael Emery.


You have two choices:

10k Trail

Start and finish at Michael Emery at 9am, running whatever trails you want for a total of 6.2 miles.

10k Road

Start at the tram at whatever time you think is appropriate and run to my house (8808 Pony Express Trail). That may only be around five and a half miles, so you may need to scare some more neighbors by running around an extra block or two to get 6.2 miles.


Start and finish at Michael Emery at 9am, running whatever trails you want for a total of 3.1 miles.

After Party

We’ll have food and beverages.  If you want, feel free to bring pot-lucky things to share after. I’ll probably be out on course, but there will be someone at the house the entire time. You do not need to run or walk any distance to attend the after party.

Old 50k Course records:

1 Steven Rodgers 4:54 2016
2 Jason Taylor 4:56 2013
3 Bryce Montano 5:22 2017

26 Responses to “Foothills 50k”

  1. Roger Squires said

    Quick race report: Decided to wear the asics piranhas despite worrying about possible achilles twinges, which didn’t occur. Minimal shoes work well on this course, with the firm sand and few sharp rocks to deal with. The finishing downhill was especially enjoyable in these shoes, and I have reduced itb & hipflexor pains when using them.

    Carried nothing from the start, picking up a 2L backpack from the car at Embudito, then swapping it for 2 bottles on the way back, all filled with some leftover perpetuum.

    The course marking was exemplary. Maybe twice I took a wrong turn, and immediately turned back when I didn’t see a marker. Perky will spend 16+ hours marking and unmarking for this race, and it was worth it! She and her husband made these fatass runs the enjoyable experiences they are.

    If you didn’t do the northern portion of the course, it wasn’t bad, the sandy mud and snow sections just increased the variety, and I didn’t have any issues worth mentioning, besides wet feet 🙂

    I kept expecting to be passed somewhere North of Pino, but hitting the tram station right at 5hrs, it was only on the way back up that I saw Brian coming down. I knew he was going to catch me, and once 365 leveled out picked up the pace to delay the inevitable. Still felt good on the finishing downhill, which has just the right pitch to keep up a fast pace.

    A seat, a cold recovery drink, and a freshly-cooked burger provided by our wonderful hosts later, I left, custom finishing prize in hand, and no injuries. A good day!

  2. cooperkel said

    FINALLY!!! Uploaded the photos. Sorry, I only got the Southern half…I couldn’t figure out a way to recharge the battery while I was running. DOH!!


    Jim will put the results up on Ultrasignup after he gets home, reads backed up email, airs out the house, does laundry, digs through the mounds of snail mail, clears out voicemail messages, preps for the upcoming PLACITAS 50K and CEDRO PEAK!!

  3. […] year, 14 spunky trail running souls enjoyed a day on the Albuquerque, New Mexico trails for the Foothills 50 km FA trail run. Sections of trail were a bit moist but not sticky. Wet feet were a possibility along with sections […]

  4. cooperkel said

    Here are some pictures from course marking today. South side was pretty good — almost totally clear. N side was slick and lots of it was still snow-covered and icy. You might think about bringing some sort of traction device.


  5. […] NM to battle it out in the second race of the 2012-2013 Albuquerque Fat Ass 50k series – the Foothills Fat Ass 50k on New Year’s Day. Your beloved Endurance Buzz contributors had trained hard all year and were […]

  6. rmsquires said

    Another glorious day in the foothills! Thanks again Perky & Joaquin, for letting us enjoy this again

  7. rmsquires said

    Oh I should enter new replies at the bottom I guess? Another glorious day in the foothills! Thanks again Perky & Joaquin, for letting us enjoy this again!

  8. rjhabq said

    Hi, Perky and Joaquin. I plan to be there for the 2016 running (well, walk/jogging for me). I may actually be getting familiar enough with the foothills trails that I may be able to stay on course this year.

    Thanks for organizing this once again.


  9. Rosielle Williams said

    How do I register?

  10. zenia begay said

    Is there a cutoff time?Also where do I sign up at?,

    • cooperkel said

      There is no real cutoff. I’ll be sitting in my driveway with a fire pit going, drinking adult beverages, and swapping ghost stories. I’ll be there until you get done. If you think it will take longer than 12 hours, I’d like to swap phone numbers with you on race day so I can make sure you’re healthy.

  11. cooperkel said

    2016 trail conditions:
    We marked the Southern half today. There is still quite a bit of snow but it hasn’t started melting in the shady spots so it is extremely runnable. There were patches of ice but it was in the sunny sections and I could run around them on dirt. As the day wore on the trail conditions got muddy.

    Race day is supposed to be 25 degrees just about all day if wunderground is telling the truth. That means mud won’t be an issue.

  12. ndultrarunner said

    Looking forward to the run tomorrow.

  13. Jason said

    Is there a map of the course, and/or will the course also be marked?

  14. rmsquires said

    A water stash would be nice at menaul or I.S. ….

  15. ctmnm said

    I’ve updated the page with more details. There will be an aid station at the Menaul Trailhead. I’ll be sending email later today, but I don’t have an organized list, so I may forget to email some people.

    • rmsquires said

      I’ll be trying to start at 7am tomorrow, & parking at Albertson’s on paseo, hope they don’t tow me….

      • ctmnm said

        I doubt they’ll tow you. However, You’re welcome to park near our house and start from the house if you want. I will be getting up no later than 5:15am. The aid station helpers will be here around 7:30am. I’ll leave the house at 8am. The aid station helpers will be leaving the house at 8:30am. The person who will be at the house while I’m out running until the aid station people return will be showing up between 8am and 9am.


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