Benefit trail race supporting Wildland Firefighters & their loved ones in time of need.”


52k Mountain Race

*UPDATE!!* Due to the Cerro Pelado Fire (started 4/22/2022), the Wildland 52 and Vertical Challenge is CANCELLED. The heart of the course, including the two main ascents of the course and the saddle between were burned over; recently (August 2022) the area has seen major flashflooding and erosion. I have not yet set foot in that area, but suspect it will not be useable due to post-fire hazards (tree fall, stump holes, flooding, etc.) in the near future. Portions of area in the Santa Fe National Forest are under a “closure order”.

While we had hoped to hold a Backyard Ultra in it’s place, numerous hurdles arose for this year’s event, so please keep an eye out for one in 2023.

Thank you for your patience. We hope that you will consider donating to The Eric Marsh Foundation who helps support our wildland firefighters, as this has already proved to be a trying and long fire season.




In 2018 and 2019 the Wildland 52 kilometer course featured over 8,000′ of elevation gain and 6,500′ of elevation loss. Much of the elevation change is in condensed sections with few switchbacks, but there is much runnable terrain in between. The course varies from dirt roads, faint two track, established single track, dozer lines, primitive trail, and “no-trail”. In some areas the track is well defined, others will be flagged and the line you take is “runner’s choice”. While 50% of the course will be on maintained single track, dirt or gravel or rocky roads (not necessarily smooth) so you can open up that stride a bit; the other 50% is rugged, unimproved, steep and very technical, requiring your full attention and grit.  

The course was intended to help display the rigors of wildland firefighting; regardless of the terrain, obstacles, physical discomfort or conditions, they must contain that fire. Often, they will use roads as containment lines, but will have to link those barriers by handcutting containment lines straight up the steepest sections by hand. The routes they choose is not the easiest, but the most effective and often the most direct (you won’t find switchbacks on a fireline, no matter how steep). Dozer lines may be cut as wide breaks, and while at times wildland fire trucks may be driven up them, most often crews will hike these lines, carrying between 35 and 90 pounds of water, gear and tools, even dragging hundreds of feet of hose with them.

September 29, 2018 we held the first annual Wildland 52k Ultramarathon. Our goal was to donate half of each entry to two non-profit organizations dedicated to the safety, mental and emotional health, and assistance in the event of a tragedy to wildland firefighters, their families and crews. I am so excited to share that with the generous support from our sponsors and private donations, we were able to exceed our anticipated $650.00 donation goal and instead split over $2,500 between the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and the Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute!

In 2019, we split 100% of the proceeds ($1,096 plus direct donations from runners) between the Eric Marsh Foundation, Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute; both organizations were created after the Yarnell Hill tragedy, when 19 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots perished.  The GMH was in the Jemez fighting the Thompson Ridge Fire just weeks before they died; working alongside the La Cueva VFD and USFS Jemez Ranger District fire fighters.  

In 2020, we did a small, (nearly) unsupported “fun run” with a “mountain marathon” length course, and had runners donate to their favorite wildland firefighter charity; most gave more than the required $52.00 for entry, and in total gave $1,467.00!  Wonderful sponsors like Jemez Valley Credit Union and San Ysidro’s CWW Feed Store, Tailwind Nutrition and Blackboot Coffee, as well as the ever-willing and amazing La Cueva VFD and a few other incredible volunteers made the event memorable for our runners!

20% of this year’s proceeds will go to La Cueva VFD; this volunteer fire department covers the majority of the Jemez Mountains, providing medical, structural and wildland fire fighting and SAR/high angle rescue services to the residents and thousands of visitors to our beautiful mountains; they also make time to volunteer for this race, even though they could spend the weekend getting some R&R after the busy summer/ tourist season winds down (talk about endurance!)!  This is the first year we have donated to them, but I feel it’s well earned and also overdue…


COURSE:   The course will start on an old “jeep trapped” section of road; you can go up and over the 20 some hills or try to navigate around; your choice!  From there you follow an established XC trail through a short section of old burn scar; there is always potential that trees may fall so please, keep your ears open and no earphones and move quickly through this short section which will be well marked and cleared to help you navigate it quickly.  A beautiful single track brings you through a meadow with new aspens; if we are lucky they will be in fall splendor!  Once you leave the single track the climbing begins, up an old road, then a fun rolling single track to a faint game trail that comes and goes over some deadfall up the western face of Los Griegos to the base of the dozer-line.  Follow the old dozer-line up the steep, rocky and loose flank of the mountain until it gains the ridge.  The trail will follow the top of the ridge, and may drop to the left a few feet below it on the first two humps and to the right on the third, but you should always find yourself back to the center of it as you make your way across the three summits.  Make your way to a high meadow and beautiful lookout point before beginning your descent off trail through the grass, until you reach an old but well established single track to a gate.  At that point, it’s all (almost) downhill on the old two track to the finish!

ENTRY: **Runners MUST be willing and comfortable traveling off-trail on steep, rugged, loose and rocky terrain**  This is NOT a good beginner trail!

Runners must provide a receipt of donation made to the Eric Marsh Foundation with the runner’s name on it.  Donation must have been made from between 8/2021 to 10/2/2021

Contact us with questions about the race, entry, volunteering or event sponsorship!!

Thank you,

Cheryl & the Wildland 52 Crew

email:  runwildland52@gmail.com       phone: 505-554-8858

FOLLOW US!  Facebook   and Instagram: @runwildland52

The Wildland 52 course is held on Santa Fe National Forest; permit has been issued by the Jemez Ranger District.  Written permission has been granted by Private and State landholders for the other 10%.


Jemez Valley Credit Union, Returning PARTNERING SPONSOR!!!

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 Second Alarm Brewhouse *PARTNERING SPONSOR* returning sponsor

2nd ABH

Monica’s Firehouse Grill (returning Sponsor)

Monicas FHG


Get up ‘n GO provided by Black Rifle Coffee



Tailwind Nutrition (returning sponsor)

And a special thanks to our 2018 sponsors!!  

Thanks to their support we were able to donate 100% of runner entry fees, plus some! Wildland 52 donated over $2,500.00 to WFGI and WFF in 2018!  

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Icebreaker Merino  

CWW Feed Store                  Amanda’s High Country Store

Classic Air Medical

La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department (medical support)

Dr. Halloway at Grant, Gibble & Davis Dental 

Jemez Monument & Historic Site

The Fitzgerald Retreat and Renewal Center