Socorro Souls of Sorrow Ultra
November 18th, 2023
This 36-mile run will serve as a proof-of-concept for a longer event next year, which we hope can be one of the premier long distance (50 mile + ) ultramarathons in New Mexico. This year, the race will be a fatass style (no markings, three aid stations) from Magdalena to Socorro. Next year's event will either involve a 70 mile out and back from Socorro to Magdalena, or a large loop connecting the two towns.
Rules: You must check in at all of the aid stations. If you drop out, let an aid station volunteer know. You are responsible for taking care of yourself out there! Bring layers and be prepared for cold conditions!
Important Notes: This is a high altitude run taking place in mid November. Runners will need to be prepared for all weather conditions!! Temperatures could be very cold, with some wind.
Check-in: 6:30 AM at the Socorro City Plaza. You must meet us here so we know who is starting and we can relay that information to our volunteers. We will shuttle runners to Magdalena at 7 AM Sharp.
Start: 7:30 AM.
Course Description: Runners will make their way out of Magdalena on Kelly Road. At 2 miles, they will stay left at the fork and continue on the road in the direction of the historic Kelly mine. Runners will catch a glimpse of the mine as they ascend a dirt road that will eventually become more narrow and rocky as it ascends into the Magdalena mountains. At mile 7, they'll pass just beneath North Baldy Peak. At approximately mile 7.5, runners should take a left turn onto a dirt track that drops sharply. If you pass through a narrow and brushy stretch of singletrack, you've gone too far. Once on the steep dirt road, runners can expect a rocky and challenging 2 miles of descent, followed by a much easier dirt road that will take them to Water Canyon Campground.
Once runners reach the connection of Water Canyon Road (paved) with Langmuir Road (dirt), they should keep right onto Langmuir road. There will be an aid station here with water and snacks (mile 13). Once leaving this aid station, runners can continue uphill for approximately 0.6 miles before reaching the Mesa Loop Trailhead. There will be a sign denoting this trail, also called Trail 13. From here, runners will begin their second big ascent to the top of the Mesa. Here, they'll be able to see the canyons and desert landscapes that they'll follow until the finish in Socorro. At Mile 15, rather than turning left to stay on the Mesa loop, runners should continue straight to descend into South Canyon. At mile 16, they'll find themselves at the bottom of South Canyon, and should continue to the left (downhill). Depending on the progression of the monsoon season, some stretches in this canyon may be overgrown.
After a few miles of descent, South Canyon trail will become a runnable dirt road. Runners should look out for a hard right turn at mile 18, followed by a left turn one mile later. There should be a gate at mile 20 with a barbed wire loop that runners can navigate. Once they've done this, they'll have a rocky but runnable dirt road taking them to highway 60 at mile 21. Runners should cross the highway here to a large parking area on the east side of the road. USE CAUTION. This can be a tricky place to cross the road as you can't see very far in the southeast direction due to a hill. Please take the time to listen for traffic and cross quickly and carefully.
Leave the highway 60 aid station on the southwest side of the highway—be extremely careful crossing the highway to enter and leave the aid station as vehicles cannot see very far ahead at this location. Follow a dirt track south that meanders through a valley and up to another ridge. After around 0.7 miles look out for a sharp right turn onto another dirt track that crosses a second valley and up to a ridge. Once on this ridge, continue south for 0.4 miles until you see another dirt road that takes a slight right toward the arroyo. Follow this track into the valley and then back out and onto a powerline road. Now follow the powerlines until you reach a closed gate at mile 23.5, and continue through past the gate. After continuing on the road, there will be two more arroyos to cross, consisting of two short but steep descents and climbs. Once you’ve climbed out of the second arroyo, continue for another 200 meters until the next powerline structure.
Once at this structure, turn left and continue due east, off trail. You’ll have to cross a barbed wire fence (there are easy places to cross), and run along this plateau that slopes gently downhill for 1.5 miles. There is no trail on this section, but the plateau is heavily grazed and if you look for some cow-trails, you can actually run quite well. 1.5 miles after you bee-lined away from the powerlines, the sloping plateau will reach the bottom and you will see a thin dirt road that turns right back onto box canyon road. Turn left on box canyon road and follow it for 0.9 miles to box canyon recreation area.
At mile 26.5, runners should look for a trail on the left that will lead them down into another large box canyon. This trail will descend and eventually lead runners onto a rocky riverbed, which they'll follow briefly before exiting through a gate onto a singletrack trail. At mile 28, they'll reach a parking area and a third aid station. This will be the final stop before the last push into Socorro. Runners will leave here onto a dirt road, and should look out for a left turn onto singletrack within half a mile of leaving the aid station. Continue on this trail for the next 6.5 miles and enjoy views of the desert. After 32 miles, runners will follow the trail until it crosses a rocky arroyo and connects with a dirt road that serves as the Socorro High School Cross Country course. Stay on this dirt road for another mile, and eventually turn left to parallel the Rodeo grounds. From here, runners should cross the road and continue running on some dirt tracks that will lead them to the city streets. Runners are welcome to choose any route through town this year, but the recommeded route will be as follows:
Take a left turn on a dirt path toward the Socorro High School to reach the road, and continue straight onto Michigan Street, which will descend onto Grant Street/Highway 60. Keep right along this road past the large stop signs onto Spring Street. Two blocks before reaching the Main Street (California Street), turn left onto Park Street. Follow this into the city Plaza and join us for a beer at the Capitol Bar.
Weather: Generally speaking, November will be cold and dry. The average high temperature in Magdalena on November 12th will be 57. The average low will be 30 degrees, but this will be considerably lower at the summit of North Baldy Peak, which is at 9700 feet.
Crew: Water Canyon and Shrine Road
Aid Stations: Water, snacks. Runners should prepare for minimal but adequate aid stations with plenty of water and basic snacks. If aid station quality is increased due to field size, runners will be informed.
Cutoffs (strictly enforced):
Water Canyon (Mile 12.5): 12:30 PM.
Highway 60 (Mile 21.5): 3:15 PM.
Shrine Road (Mile 27): 5 PM
Capitol Bar and Brewery: 8 PM