Santa Fe Marathon To Celebrate Native New Mexican Traditions

This year's Santa Fe Marathon, scheduled for Sept. 18 honors Kenyan runners in New Mexico and celebrates native New Mexican traditions. Courtesy image.  

Santa Fe Marathon To Celebrate Native New Mexican Traditions

Staff Report

SANTA FE – Santa Fe Thunder, a half marathon, 5k run and 1-mile walk through the scenic landscapes surrounding Santa Fe, is a unique running experience that connects cultures, benefits youth, and features authentic New Mexican charm.

Dubbed “The Race Different,” this year’s one-of-a-kind event is Sunday, Sept. 18 and will honor former World Record holder and Olympic Silver Medalist Peter Koech, who is known as one of the pioneers of Kenyan Running in New Mexico.

“New Mexico—especially Santa Fe—is culture-rich, and we want our race to be a reflection of that incredible mosaic of cultures coming together with one common passion of running,” said Joseph Karnes, race director and co-founder of Global Running Culture. “Having Peter Koech as our event honoree makes this event even more special. We encourage everyone to take part in this celebration of culture whether as a participant or spectator watching world class runners race to be crowned Santa Fe Thunder champion.”

Among the first Kenyans to receive a scholarship to an American university, Peter attended Washington State University and won the NCAA Steeplechase in 1985. In 1988, he won a silver medal in the Steeplechase in the Seoul, South Korea Olympics, and broke the World Record in 1989, with a time of 8:05.35 time—a record which stood for more than three years. Having made ties to New Mexico during his college years, Peter calls northern New Mexico his home, and many Kenyan runners have followed suit.

Today, northern New Mexico is home to over 400 Kenyans—some of whom are professional runners—and their culture and influence to the running community will be honored at the 2016 Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon.
“The Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon is an event very dear to my heart,” said Abraham Kosgei, co-founder of Global Running Culture and Santa Fe Thunder. “Growing up in a rural village in Kenya and seeing my dreams come true because of my commitment to running shaped the path my life has taken. This year, and every year, we honor my culture, the New Mexico culture, the Mexican culture, and cultures around the world. We are all connected through the love of running, and we are all inspired by runners and pioneers like Peter Koech.”

In addition to celebrating Peter Koech and the Kenyan culture in New Mexico, Santa Fe Thunder pays homage to the Native American traditions of the area. The top three runners in each age group will receive handmade medals, created by Pueblo artists in unique New Mexico style. And those staying in Santa Fe will have the opportunity before or after the race to explore Santa Fe and its many cultural attractions, restaurants, art galleries and landmarks.

Bringing the celebration of culture full circle, the event is focused on improving the lives of children internationally. All race proceeds benefit Global Running Culture—designed all volunteer non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of children in three countries (northern New Mexico, Copper Canyon, Mexico and Kenya) through powers of sport and education.

In its sixth year, Global Running Culture has been involved in many efforts from providing camps, education, nutrition, running shoes, solar reading lights, school supplies, sports equipment and more to help children succeed.

Santa Fe Thunder features a point-to-point course down the Old Taos Highway with a net 1,000’ gradual descent from the heart of Santa Fe to the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. Runners can participate in either the half marathon, 5k run or 1-mile walk.

For details and to register, go to For more information on this year’s race honoree, Peter Koech, visit

About Santa Fe Thunder: Santa Fe Thunder is an annual half marathon, 5k run and 1-mile walk, combining local and international culture with one of the highest elevation downhill half marathon courses in the United States.

About Global Running Culture: Global Running Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to better the lives of youth through the powers of sport and education in 3 communities where running is a vital part of the culture. We have designed the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon as a destination event to be the primary source of income to support our programs and to establish an end of Summer season iconic sporting event in Santa Fe.