Truckee’s Kristin Bohm wins inaugural Big Chief 50K |

Truckee’s Kristin Bohm wins inaugural Big Chief 50K

The inaugural Big Chief 50K Trail Run was held last weekend on the trails and fire roads around Northstar California Resort.

The race, which was organized by Big Blue Adventure, featured the Truckee area’s new Big Chief Trail and attracted roughly 100 runners to the start line at The Village at Northstar last Sunday.

“It was probably the best feedback we’ve had at a race. People just loved the course. That was the number one comment. It encompasses so many different trail systems in a single loop for a 50K that starts and finishes at Northstar,” said Big Blue Adventure Director of Operations Bryan Rickards.

“A lot of people have done parts of those trails, but they’ve never linked them all up like that. You’ve got lake views, you’ve got awesome crest views, you get good forests, you get dirt singletrack, you get technical rock singletrack, so it had quite a mix of everything.”

The Big Chief Trail portion of the course, according to Rickards, was among the most technical sections of the route.

“The runners really had to pay attention to that part of the course,” he said. “But they liked it for sure.”

Racing in her first ultramarathon, Kristin Bohm, 38, of Truckee, outpaced the field of women to become the Big Chief 50K’s first champion, finishing the course with a time of 5 hours, 21 minutes, 4 seconds.

“Today marks my first ultra,” said Bohm in an Instagram post. “Lot of blood and sweat. No tears, but damn close. 4500 (feet) of elevation gain, 80 degrees, 31.1 miles with a very special thanks to my amazing friends who came out to support me and get me through.”

Bohm, who finished ninth overall on Sunday, also captured first place in the Squaw Valley Half Marathon last June.

Erica Sonnenberg, 42, of Carnelian Bay, gave local women a one-two finish at the event. Sonnenberg finished the race with a time of 5:28:41.

Cynthia Almlie, of Reno, was third, finishing with a time of 5:31:50.

On the men’s side, JJ Santana, 32, of Las Vegas, left the field of runners far behind, finishing more than 20 minutes faster than the nearest competitor with a time of 3:46:45.

“He came up specifically to run this race, and just crushed it,” said Rickards. “That’s going to be a tough time for anybody to beat.”

Santana won last year’s Marlette Lake 50K Trail Run as well.

Kevin Weil, 36, of Portola Valley, was second, finishing in 4:09:16.

Mathew Harrison, 35, of Carnelian Bay, was the top local in the men’s division, reaching the finish line in third place with a time of 4:29:05.

Big Blue Adventure will shift gears this weekend, bringing the 38th annual Donner Lake Triathlon to West End Beach. The race will be held on Sunday and features a 1,500-meter swim in Donner Laker, a 40-kilometer bike course that takes athletes to the top of Donner Pass, and a 6.5-mile run.

Youngsters can hit the course the day before for the ninth annual Donner Lake Kids Triathlon on Saturday.

There will also be shortened versions of the triathlon on Saturday and Sunday. New this year, there will be a duathlon (running and biking) and an aquathon (swimming and running). There will also be an aquabike (swimming and biking) race as well.

The Sierra Open Water Swim Series will head to Donner Lake as well on Sunday for the second round of competition.

For full results, more information, or to register for upcoming Big Blue Adventure events, visit

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at

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