Tahoe Top 5: Hit the trail | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Top 5: Hit the trail

Donner Party Mountain Runners (DPMR) love to get outside for a good run and want to invite more of the community to join them on their treks.

"DPMR is so welcoming, no matter how long one has run or the rate at which one runs," said member Carol Patterson, who joined the group three years ago.

She shares the same opinion of several of the groups members, saying that it's through DPMR that they exceeded their athletic expectations, and made wonderful friends along the way.

In February 2014, a group of 15 runners met at Helen Pelster's house to discuss the creation of a nonprofit running club.

Since then, they've added members and take to the trails to train and encourage each other.

"If you love the outdoors and want to truly experience the beauty and trails of the North Tahoe mountains, I can't think of a better way to get an introduction to North Lake Tahoe/Truckee trails or to deepen your existing knowledge than by joining DPMR," Patterson said.

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Below are the top five reasons to try something new, advance your current skill and become part of a local family by joining Donner Party Mountain Runners.

1. A warm welcome

Donner Party Mountain Runners welcomes anyone and everyone to be part of their group.

"From our inception we've battled this unintended 'intimidation factor,'" said running coach and co-president Peter Fain.

"It's hard to see it otherwise when many of our members who attempt big mileage races and high peak ascents are the most vocal on social media. But when it comes to the day-to-day and weekly runs, in particular Tuesday morning speed work sessions, we provide an environment for every ability level to learn, try new things, and encourage one another. Once engulfed in the environment, new runners are immersed in the supportive, social environment all the while improving as a runner," Fain said.

2. Beginners and experts outside together

Fain said they don't force-feed running on anyone, and that their members join in because they all share the same passion for running. For those not interested in competing, but still interested in participating, Fain says they offer volunteer opportunities during races, helping on trail workdays and attending their educational events.

Advanced runners appreciate the networking opportunities and being able to find runners of similar ability level of which to train.

"Since getting involved with DPMR my circle of friends in the running community has grown immensely and my options to run with people of similar ability level is far more frequent," Fain said.

3. Healthy activity

Whatever level runners participate in the group, they will achieve personal goals along the way.

"Even though I've run for years, I asked co-president Peter Fain to be my coach, I have learned a lot from him and actually from each and every person I've met in DPMR," Patterson said.

4. Personal achievement

Finding new areas in nature makes running an exciting exploration.

"I have learned so many new trails and met so many wonderful people. It's opened up a whole new world of trails and running camaraderie for me," Patterson said.

5. Find your new crew

Patterson said that she likes being part of DPMR as a senior citizen.

"I'm generally bringing up the rear on the group runs, yet someone will always run with me; the group will wait up and make sure I don't get lost and cheer me to the top of the most challenging hill. I feel like they always kept an eye out for me," Patterson said.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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