North Carolina man, Truckee’s Gia White win Squaw Mountain Run |

North Carolina man, Truckee’s Gia White win Squaw Mountain Run

Sylas Wright/Sierra SunRunners bolt from the start of the Squaw Mountain Run on Saturday. To view a photo gallery from the run, go to

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; They must grow and#8216;em fast in North Carolina.

For the third consecutive year, a North Carolina runner raced to a first-place finish in the annual Squaw Mountain Run on Saturday and#8212; outdistancing a competitive field of athletes both locally and from across northern California and Nevada.

This year it was Ryan Woods of Boone, N.C., who took the win, covering the 2,000 vertical feet in 3.6 miles from the base of Squaw to High Camp in 29 minutes, 20.6 seconds. Galen Burrell of San Francisco and#8212; the last runner not from North Carolina to win the race, back in 2007 and#8212; finished runner-up in 30 minutes, 3 seconds. August Brautigam of Reno rounded out the top three in 30:19.

Truckee’s Gia White, 32, won the women’s division and finished 13th overall, posting a time of 34:55.1. She was followed by Chelsea Holmes of Truckee, who was 22nd overall in 36.59, and Kari Rust of Portola Valley, who placed 23rd overall in 37:18. Julie Young of Truckee was the fifth woman to finish, recording a time of 39:22.

and#8220;It was really good to get back up there,and#8221; said White, who also won the women’s division in 2007 in her only other Squaw Mountain Run. and#8220;and#8230; Hill racing isn’t my forte, so it was more of just a hard workout for me. But I was very satisfied. I felt slow but strong climbing that mountain. Baby steps and#8212; it was all about baby steps.and#8221;

A total of 540 people participated in the annual fundraiser, which benefits the Auburn Ski Club Junior Nordic Team and the Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. Another 18 took part in the flower walk.

and#8220;The run went great. It was real successful,and#8221; said Sally Jones, program director with the Auburn Ski Club. and#8220;There was a bit of a breeze at the top, which was nice, and everybody seemed to be having a good time at the end.and#8221;

Jones said the event netted more than $12,000 and#8212; 20 percent of which goes to the Tahoe Forest Cancer Center.

Last year’s winner, Jason Bryant of Elkin, N.C., finished fourth overall in 31:17, while recently graduated Incline High School track and cross-country standout Mike Sunseri and#8212; sporting a large, curly-haired wig and thick-framed aviator sunglasses and#8212; finished fifth in 31:50.

Among other top local finishers, Truckee ultrarunner Paul Sweeney finished ninth in 33:34, Ross McMahan of Incline Village was 10th in 33:56 and Patrick Stinson of Truckee was 11th in 34:20. Rob McClendon of Truckee placed 16th (35:23).

But while the Squaw Mountain Run attracts a competitive field of athletes and#8212; it’s part of the nationwide La Sportiva Mountain series and#8212; it also draws a large contingent of recreational runners and hikers who simply participate to support a good cause. Like Gary Lewis, a longtime trainer for the Truckee High football team.

and#8220;I like the challenge of it,and#8221; Lewis said when asked what brought him back to the event for a second year. and#8220;And it’s a lot of fun and#8230; I like it as long as I hit one hour. If I get too much over one hour, I’ll quit doing it.and#8221;

For Truckee’s Kimball Pier, the run brings back memories from past races up Squaw Valley’s Mountain Run trail. Now 52, she still holds her own on the grueling uphill course.

and#8220;I grew up here, so when I first started running, this is what I ran,and#8221; said Pier, who competed in her sixth Squaw Mountain Run on Saturday, finishing 10th among women with a time of 42:05. and#8220;So I know every inch of this run.and#8221;

Squaw Mountain Run regular Del Wichelman of Oakland again was the oldest finisher. At the age of 87, he crossed the line with a time of 1:15:45.

Since the Auburn Ski Club began keeping track of times in 2007, the Squaw Mountain Run course record stands at 28:50.1, set in 2008 by Shiloh Mielke of Weaverville, N.C.

To view a photo gallery from the 2010 run, go to

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