Paseo de Mariposa offers family, budget-friendly trail run

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The Paseo de Mariposa is a family-friendly trail run scheduled for Sunday, April 24. This annual event is sponsored by Mariposa County Health and Human Services and the Mariposa/Yosemite Rotary Club.

This family-friendly event was founded by Melissa Fluharty and Margarita King back in 2016. As a runner and a mom, Fluharty was always disappointed that running events were so expensive to enter, especially when you started to add the price of kids to enter as well.

Excited contestants getting ready to take part in the popular “caterpillar crawl” course for youth under the age of five at a previous Paseo de Mariposa event.

“I felt that we could create an event that was competitive and allowed families to enter while remaining budget friendly. In the name of rural health, and in pursuit of healthier children, we decided that the Paseo would always allow youth to enter at no cost, yet receive the same race experience as adults, such as custom Nalgene water bottles, chip timing, and awards for every entry,” said Fluharty.    

“We have three events, the 5K, the 8ishK, and the 12K. Yes, it really is 8ish.  We ran it a few times and came up with slightly varying distances each time, so 8ish is the most accurate distance.  We also have our Caterpillar Crawl for kids who are under five years old. This has been a very popular and highly competitive event over the years. The kids love it, and the parents and fans get very animated,” added Fluharty

Route descriptions and things to consider

The Paseo de Mariposa trail run offers three different distances, with each have varying levels of difficulty. Organizers definitely recommend that participants consider their athletic ability and experience before race day.  Participants can download the following PDF documents that shows the various trails: Paseo de Mariposa Routes

Aid stations will be spread out across each of the three distances, with members of the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team on hand for runner support. Event organizers consider participants’ safety as their number one priority, and also want to make sure that everyone has a good time during the event.

Contestants assembling at the start-finish line to take part in one of the trail courses at a previous Paseo de Mariposa event.

The 5K route is not only the shortest distance, but the most family-friendly, and beginner-friendly route that can be chosen. The race starts at the courthouse, with the first part on paved roads. There is a short climb up toward the upper high school baseball field and track, then another short, steep climb up a paved road and into the Stockton Creek Preserve and trail system. From there you’ll travel on a dirt fire road (two people wide) before turning around and heading back to the finish line at the courthouse.

The 8-ish K route follows the 5K route and continues to the reservoir before it turns and heads back toward town.  There is a steep rocky climb just before participants get to the reservoir and then another climb before the turnaround point.   The route has rolling terrain with a few short steep climbs before runners join back up to the road and continue to the finish line.

The 12K route is not only the longest of the three routes but definitely the most challenging. Once runners get into the preserve there is a short and steep downhill section with several tripping hazards along the way before participants get to Stockton Creek. After crossing the creek, runners begin the long single track climb up to the reservoir and Slaughterhouse Road. Along the climb there are many rocky areas and places where it’s much easier to hike instead of run. Once the trail empties out on Slaughterhouse Road, there is a gentle climb up to the Flume Trail, which is a moderately difficult single-track trail before it heads up the most difficult leg of the run, to the highest point.

Since the Paseo de Mariposa event was launched in 2016, each year, apart from Covid-cancelled events, it has had growing numbers of people enter the family-friendly event.  Prior to Covid the participants total grew to 235 entries. This year’s event is the first year back to the full event status, post-Covid, and organizers are hoping to have the same or more entries.  If you already know you want to participate in this year’s event, you can do so by going to the following link: Paseo de Mariposa Registration Site

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