Truckee athlete completes his own ‘Tahoe Trifecta’ to raise money for fire, environmental organizations

Sara Jackson / Special to the Sun

Imagine running the Tahoe Rim Trail (175 miles), biking 72 miles around Lake Tahoe, and then paddleboarding 70 miles around the lake. This is exactly what Truckee native, Justin Wadsworth set out to do from October 14-22. He traveled a total of 322 miles in 9 days, at an elevation 32,000 feet.

Wadsworth paddleboarded around the lake.

Why? He did it not only as a personal goal, to be the first person to do this, but also to raise $10,000 each for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, Keep Tahoe Blue, and Clean Up the Lake.

Wadsworth says that after nine grueling days of running, biking, and paddleboarding, he feels surprisingly great.

“During the endeavor, on like day two of the run, I got sick, and it just got worse towards the end. I was unable to talk and had a hard time getting in a full breath the last ten miles of the run. That has gone away thankfully. I also tore something in my ankle the second day and pushed through with a swollen ankle. That is all healed thanks to yoga and CBD. I’m glad I’m feeling great, as I have started training for other big things I have planned for the rest of the winter,” said Wadsworth.

During the summers, Wadsworth works as a Hotshot, which he describes as a physically demanding job, that consists of hiking everywhere with a full pack, and doing manual labor every day.

Wadsworth is a hotshot during the summer.

The bulk of Justin’s training for what he calls the Tahoe Trifecta, was done during his three days off. During those three days he would run as much as he could. He states that he didn’t feel prepared for the endeavor, but he knew that his body would adjust, and get used to what he was asking it to do.

Justin says there were so many amazing things that happened during his nine-day adventure.

“Starting early that first morning, leaving the Airbnb by myself, and actually setting off was a huge part of it, as I was so nervous and so jacked up to get moving. With so much uncertainty ahead of me, it was a daunting thing to grasp, but I had to reign myself in, and take it one step at a time. I also enjoyed all of the sunrises and sunsets I saw along the way. It made me feel grateful that I was alive and able to do something like this, even when I was in the dumps and feeling like quitting,” says Wadsworth.

In 2020, after completing his first race, which was 50 miles, Wadsworth said he caught the “ultra-running bug.”

Wadsworth ran the Tahoe Rim Trail during his adventure.

“It just became a sport where I could be outside, and also push myself as hard as I could for nobody else but me,” adds Wadsworth.

The idea of the Tahoe Trifecta began germinating in Justin’s mind in 2020 right after fire season. He tried completing the Tahoe Rim Trail in 5 days, but only made it to Spooner from Mt. Rose.

“I thought this was a great opportunity for myself, to do something nobody has ever done. After failing for two years, it became more of a goal I really needed to finish before I could move on to anything else. I also grew up around pro athletes, all around Truckee and Lake Tahoe, and I thought this was also a great opportunity to do something crazy to get my name out there, and hopefully get me on the track of another goal of becoming a professional athlete. There were a lot of reasons to do this, but mainly to challenge myself, and do something incredible in an incredible setting,” explains Wadsworth.

Not only was this a personal goal that Wadsworth set for himself, but he also set out to raise money for three charities that mean something to him.

Justin’s summer job puts him in the same space where so many brave men and women lose their lives or become injured fighting forest fires every year. He chose the Wildland Firefighter Foundation for their amazing work in helping those families in times of crisis.

Wadsworth is still trying to raise money for various organizations.

Both Clean Up the Lake and Keep Tahoe Blue show people that it takes more than one organization nowadays to clean up the man-made mess in and around the lake.

“I don’t know how many times I go to a beach and see trash, and clean it up, only to come back a week later and have it look like I didn’t do anything. This place is beautiful and dear to my heart, as it is to so many others. We all come and stay here for that reason, and we should take care of it, to preserve that beauty and also educate others on leaving no trace,” says Wadsworth.

When asked what motivated him during his nine days biking, running, and paddleboarding, Wadsworth answered, “The main events that stick out to me was when I got to see my friends and family at the aid stations I set out. Especially on the run, going 20 to 30 miles by myself, and then seeing friendly and familiar faces boosted my energy and gave me motivation to keep on moving. Without all of their help, I could not have done this feat. I have tried the last couple of years to do it solely by myself, and there is a reason it took till now to finish.”

Despite his hard work and dedication to a place he loves, Wadsworth was only able to raise $200 for each charity. He still wants to meet his goal of $10,000 per charity.

You can go to the following links to donate.
Wildland Firefighter Foundation –
Keep Tahoe Blue –
Clean Up the Lake –

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