After a one-year hiatus, 2011 Billy Dutton Uphill champion JP Donovan of Incline Village returned to compete in the historic race up the slopes of Squaw Valley this past Sunday.
That was bad news for his competition.
Racing in shoes, Donovan reclaimed his title in a time of 34 minutes, 17.3 seconds, which narrowly beat his time of 34:39 in 2011. Defending champion Tav Streit, who took the 2012 win on cross-country skis, in a time of 37:09.9, was absent from this year’s race.
Wyatt Fereday of Reno, competing on cross-country skis, finished runner-up in 34:35, while skiers John Novak (34:49.8), Erin Phillips (37:07.3) and Forreset Mahlen (37:30.2), all from Anchorage, Alaska, finished third through fifth.
Truckee snowshoer Peter Fain placed sixth in 38:58.1 and was followed by fellow snowshoer Jamie Adams (42:33.8), skier Dylan Syben (42:46.8), snowshoe/runner Jim Telling (43:40.5) and skier Michael Collins (43:55.7) rounding out the top 10.
Mary Ellen Benier of Truckee was the top woman and 17th overall, as she posted a time of 46:55.6 on skis. Callie Ewing of Olympic Valley, representing the run/snowshoe division, was the second woman in 47:57.5, and Angela Costamagna of Truckee was the third woman overall in 50:50.8.
The annual race, which starts at the bottom of Mountain Run and climbs 2,000 vertical feet in 3.2 miles to High Camp, is held in honor of Billy Dutton, who helped establish Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue in 1976 and died at an early age of brain cancer. The event now serves as a major fundraiser for the Far West Junior Nordic ski team.
This year’s event featured soft snow at the base of the mountain and windy, icy conditions at the top. Skiers typically hold the advantage over runners and snowshoers in the final quarter-mile stretch of the race — because it’s the only downhill portion of the course — but Donovan could not be caught after building an insurmountable lead up the mountain.
A total of 168 people participated in the race. Find a photo gallery at www.macbethgraphics.com.