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Hopper & Valdez

Runners, walkers reach new heights at Climax Canyon 5K in Raton NM

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Runners, hikers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts congregated at the Climax Canyon Nature Trail in Raton, New Mexico on June 1 for the 2019 Climax Canyon 5K Run and walk.

The date for the run was moved to the first Saturday in June this year, National Trails Day, in order to commemorate the Climax Canyon Nature Trail’s 2018 designation as a National Recreation Trail by the National Park Service.

“Steve Black from the National Park Service was present at the event, along with Raton Mayor Pro-Tem Linde Schuster,” says Jared Chatterley, Director of Parks & Recreation for Raton and organizer of the Climax Canyon 5K. “With the help of the Raton Ambassadors, the trailhead of the Climax Canyon became the site for the short ceremony which included remarks from Black, myself, and Mayor Pro-Tem Schuster before Mayor Schuster had the honor of cutting the ribbon and opening the new Climax Canyon National Recreation Trail.”

The trail is a true local gem, says Chatterley. “The Climax Canyon Nature Trail is unique in its proximity to town. Named after the now abandoned Climax Canyon mine, the Climax Canyon Park is only a few blocks from downtown Raton. Besides the fabulous views of Colorado and northeastern New Mexico, hikers on the Climax Canyon Nature trail have seen deer, elk, bear, and mountain lions, among other wildlife. The trail is a great way to enjoy the solemnity of the outdoors from the convenience of your own backyard.”

The 5K trail run is a popular annual event for local runners and visitors alike, with participants from as far away as Stillwell, Ohio taking part in the race this year. “Participating in outdoor recreation activities has been a growing trend since the 1970’s,” says Chatterley. “The last ten years has seen an increase in outdoor recreation as the Millennial Generation has come of age. The Climax Canyon event provides an opportunity for individuals of all ages to take advantage and explore recreation opportunities that are literally just out their front door. It is our goal that as more people take advantage of the relatively low-risk recreational opportunities close to home, that this will begin to develop in people a desire to explore and take advantage of the outdoor recreation opportunities offered in the region, growing outdoor recreation enthusiasts across south Colorado and northeast New Mexico.”

While the event was again a success, Chatterley explains that the Climax Canyon race will held earlier next year. “Due to the may outdoor recreation activities associated with National Trails Day (first Saturday in June), we will be moving the race back to the first Saturday in May to hopefully avoid other outdoor activities and increase participation in the run. And I can’t speak about the Climax Canyon Nature Trail and the 5k without thanking John Johnson and Al Frydryk. They are the two individual who virtually single-handedly completed phase two of the Climax Canyon Nature Trail. Without them, we wouldn’t have the three mile nature trail that we have today, or the opportunity to have the Climax Canyon 5k or of a federally designated National Recreation Trail. Although I get a lot of credit for creating the Climax Canyon Nature Trail, my hat is off to those two gentlemen because they are the ones who actually built it.”

The Climax Canyon event was the third in the 2019 RaBa Cinco racing series, with both the Colfax and Las Animas County teams racking up points. Team Las Animas held on to its series lead, earning 18 points at the Climax Canyon event, with Team Colfax right on its heels at 17.67 points. “Las Animas extended its lead based on Michelle Hopper and Tammy Valdez finishing a razor close first and second respectively,” says RaBa Cinco organizer Ben Wiley.

“Michelle’s teenage daughter, Riley Hopper, also ran, proving that out-of-season track athletes can make their presence felt in these events in a positive way for themselves and for the sake of their team,” says Wiley.

Next on the RaBa Cinco series schedule is the Huajatolla Heritage 5K, to be held in La Veta on June 8.


2019 Climax Canyon 5k Results

Women 39 and Under -

    1.    Audriana Apodaca - 37:24

    2.     Riley Hopper - 44:13


Women 40 and Over -

    1.     Michelle Hopper - 33:21*

    2.    Tammy Valdez - 33:23

    3.    Shannon Youngquist - 37:53   

    4.    Georgia Nelson - 52:24   

    5.    Tiffany Stewart - 104:43

Men 39 and Under -

    1.     Caden Floyd - 27:30**

    2.    Rowen Floyd - 32:53

    3.     Tyler Davis - 32:58   

    4.    Orren Floyd - 43:10      

Men 40 and Over -

    1.    Ben Wiley - 35:47

    2.      John McElhinney - 45:26

**-Men’s and over all race winner

*-Women’s winner


Leslie Fernandez

Marthann Thompson

David and Lisa Wentling

RABA CINCO WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS – Preliminary through 3 events

1. Shannon Youngquist – 51 points

2. Ruth Stodghill, Tammy Valdez – 38 points

4. Michelle Hopper – 37 points

5. Carol Brimmeier – 31 points

6. Lorraine Cisneros – 28 points

7. Georgia Nelson – 27 points

8. Desiree Dallaguardia, Melanie Nelson, Jennifer Been, Giena Ward, Tricia Mascarenas – 20 points

13. Darci Mincic – 19 points

14. Jillian Baca – 18 points

15 Anakacia Shifflet, Ashley Posthumus – 17 points

17. Angela Encinias, Melanie Magee – 16 points

RABA CINCO MEN’S INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS – Preliminary through 3 events:

1. Ben Wiley – 51 points

2. Danny Nelson – 39 points

3. Ted Sillox – 36 points

4. Floyd Herrera, Caden Floyd – 20 points

6. Arnold Tsosie, Rowen Floyd – 19 points

8. Joel Shifflet, Tyler Davis – 18 points

10. Kyle de Guzman, Mike Magee – 17 points

12. Orren Floyd – 16 points

13. John McElhinney – 15 points

14. Robert Spell – 11 points

15. Dana Anstey – 9 points

RABA CINCO TEAM STANDINGS - Preliminary through 3 events:

1. Las Animas County - 52.75 points

2. Huerfano County - 32.92 points

3. Colfax County - 17.67 points

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