FKT: Peter Kesting - South Mountain Loop via Bursera Trailhead (AZ) - 2023-12-23

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1h 16m 17s
GPS track(s)

This trail is absolutely awesome. You can see the loop throughout most of the route. It’s also a lot more runable than many of the trails in the Pheonix area with long sections of smooth gravel. 

I ran this at a casual pace clockwise about a month earlier and knew I’d be back. I asked Scott Traer if he’d like to have a crack at his record with me but sadly it didn’t work with his racing schedule. So I set off solo on a cool overcast afternoon relieved that the terrain wasn’t saturated after raining heavily the whole day before. Wanting a different perspective, I set out counter-clockwise this time after a warmup up the first 1.25 miles. There are a lot of trails in the beginning so I wanted to ensure I didn’t skip a beat while making the initial turns. 

It felt good to hammer the 900 foot climb in the beginning on fresh legs. I focused on small consistent steps instead of large powerful bounds up the boulders. Once at the top, from then on, I had to get my average pace down as low as I could because I knew I would be hurting on the final 600 foot ascent. The trail along the ridge was fantastic and I only saw several people. 

By the time I got to the base of the second climb, I had gotten my average pace down to around 7:30 and the ascent wasn’t as long as I remembered it being. The last mile was a breeze and I cruised to the trailhead sign at just over 1:16. Great start to a Christmas weekend.