• That 5k passing your house? This man probably organized it.
  • Crime running above 2020, below 2019
That 5k passing your house? This man probably organized it.
With just a few minutes left until the start of the Great Pumpkin Chase on October 30, Stephen Pino (center) was busy rushing around Kit Carson Avenue and Rio Grande Park, conferring with a series of helpers.

You probably don't know his name, but there's a very good chance you know his work.

Meet Stephen Pino, the indefatigable organizer of 5k and 10k footraces across the city. His greater Downtown events include the recently-concluded Great Pumpkin Chase, the forthcoming Kringle Jingle on December 4, the Barrett House Home Run, and the newer TyRUNnosaurus, which originates at the natural history museum and runs through Sawmill and Old Town.

If there is one ironclad law for organizing such events, it seems, it is the one mandating cheesy names.

"Oh for sure," Pino said. "You want to keep it light-hearted and fun."

But the logistics behind races are no joke. Preparation begins months in advance: There are city permits to obtain, traffic control plans to hammer out, volunteers to coordinate, and neighborhood organizations to notify. Major intersections will need flaggers. Police might even be called in to help. Overall, a race that involves 500 runners could bring with it several dozen support staffers.

Through the organization RunFit, a charity that aims to curb childhood obesity, Pino has organized about 700 races over the years. It is a labor of love for the retired school principal who still runs about 70 miles per week: "I don't make an income off of it - let's put it that way," he said. "It's always been my passion."

The program has also extended over the years to school-based running programs and jog-a-thons at Dolores Gonzales Elementary, Washington Middle School, and East San Jose Elementary.

Largely shut down during the pandemic's first 18 months, Pino estimates that 80 percent of the events have returned to normal, though some runs that would have happened this past spring have switched to the fall to make up for lost time. Participation isn't quite back to normal either, thanks partially to the fact that a noticeable number of race participants come from out of state. But the locals are still turning out, including at the bustling Great Pumpkin Chase, where participants had to park as far away as Iron and Fourteenth before walking to the starting line at Rio Grande Park.

"I think people really truly appreciate the opportunity to be down in neighborhoods," Pino said. "It gives people a chance to see Albuquerque at its best."

Additional note: Though it is organized by a different outfit, the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trek, which happens mostly on the bosque trail, is also back on this year. Pino will be tied up in Rio Rancho that day, organizing the Hobbler Gobbler.

Crime running above 2020, below 2019
The incident count kept up the relatively flat trend we've seen since May.
More minor disturbing the peace incidents, however, are low relative to over the summer, and definitely relatively to pre-pandemic times.
Aircraft circling dropped markedly in October, almost to the bare-bones levels we saw at the beginning of the year.
But if things are generally quieter, this is the major exception: There have been 13 homicides in greater Downtown so far in 2021, far higher than in recent years. Since we last ran this feature, victims have included Elijah Vallejos, Anastacio Amador, Nelson Gallegos, and Geoffrey Scot Edgar.
The neighborhood view
The Downtown core had just about the same levels as last month, albeit with fewer calls in the assault category and more in the vandalism category:
After a notable spike in September, Barelas returned to roughly the levels it has seen since April. If they continue like that, it will actually represent a sustained drop relative to 2019. Wells Park has also seen a notable drop relatively to two years ago:
The downward trend is much less pronounced in the general vicinity of Central and Rio Grande. Neighborhoods like Huning Castle, West Park, and West Old Town have seen levels that are pretty comparable to two years ago, though to be sure, most of those incidents are happening on the major corridors rather than the residential areas (example):
But Sawmill, at least, seems for the most part to be sustaining its gains:
For sources and methods, click here.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers greater Downtown, which we generally define as the area created by I-40, the Rio Grande, and the railroad tracks. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. To subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do, click here. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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