Missed turn leads 38 runners down the wrong path in Tahoe race
Runners lost during a foot race to Loon Lake are all safe and accounted for following a search and rescue effort Tuesday evening. Thirty-eight of the 45 runners took a wrong turn, but many of them managed to correct their mistake and get back on track.
According to Sgt. Bill Langton with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, the runners headed north instead of south at Barker Pass near Desolation Wilderness.
“Apparently, the trail was not really clearly marked,” Langton said. “Some runners, however, found their way back to the proper trail.
The organized race, the first inaugural Race Across California Enduro began Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. with 45 participants at the starting point at Homewood Mountain Resort. The race, a four-day event across California, consisted of a foot race to Loon Lake in El Dorado County followed by a trek across 275 miles of varied California terrain. Racers mountain bike, kayak, road bike, trail run and hike their way to San Francisco.
At approximately 6:30 p.m Tuesday, the local sheriff’s department was notified by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s department about several racers lost in the Desolation Wilderness area. El Dorado County had been searching for the racers since 2 p.m. and Placer County deployed their own rescue team immediately after notification, Langton said.
“Several participants had finished portions of the event, some had quit and returned home, some were known to have become disoriented and go in the wrong direction and others still were lost and apparently unaccounted for,” said a release from the sheriff’s department.
Due to thunderstorms and lightning in the area, helicopters were not used during the search.
Of the racers that strayed off course during the event, four of them made their way to Hell Hole Reservoir on the western portion of Desolation Wilderness and broke into an unoccupied fire station to call for help, the report said. The remaining eight that had been unaccounted for turned up at Loon Lake at 8:30 p.m. and by 9 p.m., all racers were accounted for.
According to the report, the participants discovered during the search and rescue effort were tired, cold and hungry, but didn’t require medical care.
The race was organized by race director Dave Horning of the Stinson Beach-based company, Envirosports.
Envirosports also organizes the Alcatraz Triathlon, Death Valley Trail Marathon and the Big Sur Trail Marathon.
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