Tahoe City’s Kimble breaks record on Rim Trail
TRT Fastest known times
Adam Kimble 37:12:15
Kyle Curtin 41:9
Krissy Moehl 47:29
Candice Burt 60:47:34
The Tahoe Rim Trail attracts some of the top ultrarunners from all corners of the globe as they seek to test themselves across the roughly 172 miles of forest and mountains that surround the lake.
Since 2009, the fastest known time around the Tahoe Rim Trail has belonged to Spanish athlete Kilian Jornet, that is, until July 18 when local runner Adam Kimble broke the record, finishing the loop around Lake Tahoe more than an hour ahead of record pace with a time of 37 hours, 12 minutes, 15 seconds.
“It means a lot to me. I was really fired up about it,” said Kimble, who set the record for the fastest supported time. “More than anything, the thing that was most exciting to me … it felt like it was a win for all of the runners in Tahoe, just bringing that record back to a local that lives here.
“Killian Jornet, who held the record before, is arguably the best male utlrarunner in the sport and I’ve always looked up to him. It was really special to me to break a record that he had.”
When Jornet set the record the Tahoe Rim Trail was about 165 miles in length.
Kimble attempted the record in October 2019, but came up short, finishing with a time of 45:36:36. He said plans at the time were to try again at some point, but not likely for another couple of years. Then due to races being canceled because of the outbreak of COVID-19, Kimble again found himself back on the trails surrounding Tahoe, gunning for Jornet’s record roughly nine months after his first attempt.
He started off early from Tahoe City, making his way clockwise past Kings Beach and Incline Village and by nightfall he’d reached Kingsbury and Big Meadow on the south side of the lake.
As he slugged through the darkness during the late hours of the night, thoughts of again failing to break the record began creeping into the back of Kimble’s mind. As the night wore on, Kimble began slipping from being on or near record pace to about 45 minutes behind.
“The fatigue was starting to hit me then,” said Kimble. “You feel like things are starting to dwindle and I started to get in my head then, and think to myself, ‘I’m not feeling so great. I hope something turns around.’”
The turning point came in the form of the first light of the morning, and as the sun came up over Echo Lake, Kimble’s energy returned. Legs that had taken a beaten across miles of single track and pavement trails began finding their old form, setting a blistering pace for the next 32 miles. By the time Kimble reached Barker Pass on the west side of Lake Tahoe, he was an hour and a half ahead of Jornet’s pace.
“It was one of those things where I was feeling great,” said Kimble. “I felt like (the record) was coming, but you can’t get ahead of yourself.”
Kimble would continue a solid pace along the West Shore before reaching the end point back in Tahoe City. As he crossed the finish line he was greeted by a line of supporters — socially distanced and in masks — as one of Tahoe’s own claimed the record for supported fastest known time around the lake. The website http://www.fastestknowntime.com tracks records for the Tahoe Rim Trail along with other trails from around the world.
“I’m just super grateful for all of the support I had — my crew, my pacers, everyone that came out to support me,” said Kimble.
Record-breaking summer on TRT
Aside from Kimble’s record-breaking feat, several others have been out on the Tahoe Rim Trail this summer, making history of their own.
Montana’s Fran Zelenitz posted the fastest unsupported time in late June, finishing in 101 hours, 51 minutes. Roughly a week later, local runner Helen Pelster broke the mark with a time of 75:44:13. Then four days later, Candice Burt, who organizes the annual Tahoe 200 Endurance Run, set the record on the trail with a time of 60:47:34.
On the men’s side, Colorado’s Kyle Curtin, who set the Tahoe 200 course record in 2018, broke the unsupported record on the Tahoe Rim Trail in early July, finishing with a time of 41 hours, 9 minutes.
During the month of August, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association is hosting a virtual trail-a-thon fundraiser.
Due to COVID-19, the association had to cancel its major fundraiser for the year, and is now challenging the running community to sign up, tell their story, and set goals tied to raising money. Every team that raises more than $20 will be entered into a drawing at the end of August. The top raising individual or team will win an REI tent. As of Thursday, $445 of the stated goal of $5,000 has been raised.
For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.tahoerimtrail.org.
The Tahoe Rim Trail Association’s mission is to maintain and enhance the trail system while inspiring stewardship and preservation.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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