Ready to chase the hot air balloon sky?

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Picture this: a half marathon, your spouse, best friends, and hot air balloons. The result? An unforgettable race and breathtaking experience that’s nothing short of a heavenly! This is one of my all-time favorite race videos, enhanced by the perfect soundtrack!

The Pre-Dawn Rush: Balancing a Love for Running and Hot Air Balloon Spectacles

Getting up at 3:00 am for a 7:00 am start might seem daunting, but when you’re one of the few hundred thousand people heading to the world’s largest hot air balloon launch, it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss. The journey to the start line involves patiently navigating heavy traffic (for several hours) and ensuring you’re on time for an unforgettable kickoff to the race!

Budgeting plenty of extra time was essential in making it to the start line and not feeling rushed!

Building Anticipation: Miles 1-3 and the Promise of Hot Air Balloons

At the stroke of 7am, two extraordinary events unfold together. The Great Balloon Chase Half Marathon starts, and nearly 1,000 hot air balloons begin their majestic ascent. It’s a moment where the ground meets the sky, and the thrill of running intertwines with the beauty of balloons soaring above.

Mile 1 takes you through an open field with hot air balloons flying high above

As hot air balloons slowly began to fill the sky, my good friend Jeramy and I set off through open fields, a widening dirt path, and winding streets.

Mile 2 – making our way along the dirt path and looking forward to seeing many more hot air balloons ahead
Mile 3 – These were the only spectators I saw during the race likely do to the fact everyone was understandably by the launch area and looking up!

Mile after mile, the sky became a colorful canvas, painting our run with a growing and unforgettable beauty.

Rise to the Run! Miles 4-10 amidst the Sandia Mountains, Rio Grande, and Balloon-Filled Skies

Any local will tell you that October is the most beautiful time of year in New Mexico, made so in large part by the much-anticipated sight of colorful balloons punctuating the skyline. The next six miles (out and back) was a spectacle that transforms the horizon into a portrait of vibrant hues and whimsical shapes like nothing I have ever seen in my lifetime.

There are moments when words aren’t enough, and it’s best to let the images tell the story.

Mile 4 – Focusing on the view and trying to catch my friend Jeramy Hall who is a good mile ahead.
Mile 5 – This literally felt like I was in a movie!
Mile 6 – Runners only + a seemingly endless rising tide of hot air balloons
Mile 7 – The bluest of blue skies peppered the most creative looking hot air balloons on the planet
Mile 8: Pure joy! #BucketListInProgress
Mile 9 – Up and up they go…
Mile 10 – following the hot air balloon back toward the finish line

The Climatic Finish: Miles 11-13 and the Sweet Reward of a Spouse’s Cheers!

Out-and-back races aren’t usually my thing, but when the sky is painted with hot air balloons, it’s a different story! I’d estimate that I spent around 60-70% of the time with my eyes on the sky, marveling at the vibrant colors and creative styles of hot air balloons.

When I did look down, I saw inspiring and happy faces.


As I made my way back to the open field near Mile 12, the sky was a stunning mosaic of hot air balloons, each one a vibrant splash against the blue backdrop.

Despite my eagerness to finish the race, I couldn’t help but pause and admire the scene before me. It was a moment of peace and tranquility.

Eric Bailey, Race Director of the Great Balloon Chase taking in every precious moment. He is one of the kindest and nicest people (and race organizers) I have ever met.

As the finish line came into view, the cheers of my friends Jeramy and Brittany Hall filled the air. Jeramy even ran the last hundred feet alongside me, adding an extra boost to my stride. When I was just 25 feet away, I heard my wife, Carrie, shouting from the rooftop, “Come on Jason, crush it, take it all the way baby. I love you, I love you, all the way, all the way!”

Mile 13 – State #35 is ready to be immortalized in my race chronicles!

I could be in any corner of the globe, and having her by my side makes every race and memory profoundly special. Moments like these are truly irreplaceable and priceless.

I love you too Carrie Boschan.

Our traditional (and classic) post-race bling picture
Not pictured: The ladder we both used to get into this hot air balloon 🙂
Of course, the customary picture of the medal!
My everything.

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