A run around the lake: athletes prepare for new ultra marathon
Kingsbury Grade resident Ron Nageotte will be celebrating his 52nd birthday this Friday in a slightly different fashion than he has in the past.
“I will be drinking lots of water on Friday night to celebrate, and maybe I’ll even eat some cake because it has a lot of carbohydrates,” laughed the seasoned marathoner.
On his birthday, Nageotte will begin a three-day, 78 mile trek around Lake Tahoe as one of 25 runners competing in the ultra 3-day stage marathon that is the newest addition to the Lake Tahoe Marathon.
The ultra is the only official race of its kind in the United States, according to Marathon Director Les Wright; challenging athletes to complete three full marathons in as many days.
Runners will begin in South Lake Tahoe on Friday morning and run counterclockwise around the lake to finish on Sunday with runners and walkers from other marathon races.
Wright added the three-day stage marathon to the weekend’s event after traveling to various marathon expos and hearing positive feedback about races of its kind in other countries.
“I thought it would be something different and fun. This event is really a run first and a race second,” said Wright of the marathon’s new addition.
Although Nageotte is a veteran runner with over 30 marathons and several ultra (50 mile) races under his belt, this weekend will present a new challenge for him, running three marathons back-to-back.
“If I can make it across the finish line at Pope Beach I am a winner,” said Nageotte. “It is not about speed or finishing in a specific place. If anything, speed is the last thing I am concentrating on.”
Unlike those competing in the marathon race, the 25 brave souls who will begin running on Friday will be without aid stations, water stands and crowd fanfare for the first two legs of the course.
“My major concern isn’t support, it is having enough space on the road,” added Nageotte.
Though traffic will be temporarily closed on Sunday morning from South Shore to Tahoe City northbound during the marathon event and the last day of the ultra race, Nageotte and his competitors will have to run with the steady stream of cars along a narrow shoulder for the first two days.
Dan Rus will be relying on his wife and parents as a support crew for the first two days of the ultra event to resupply him with water, food, clothing and other necessities throughout the race. The 34-year old Placerville resident will be running the Lake Tahoe marathon course for the fifth time this weekend – with the addition of a few extra miles (52.4 to be exact).
“I don’t really know what to expect,” said Rus, who has competed in various ultra events in his running career.
Both men have run marathons and ultra races and have years of experience training and racing. Both runners will employ their own strategies to stay energized, loose and injury free during their three days on the course.
Nageotte is already scheduling massages for the down time in between running marathons, and plans on wading in the lake for 20 minutes after each run to “keep the swelling down.”
Rus has a more basic plan of resting and refueling after each day’s run.
Training for the ultra event involved some guesswork on the part of both athletes, who are unfamiliar with the taxing effects of a 3-day race.
“The longer you are out there, the greater the risk of fatigue and injury,” said Dave Lacy, athletic trainer at Sierra Sports and Physical Therapy in Truckee.
Lacy also highlighted the importance of hydration and adequate nutrition prior to, during and following a multi-day race of this nature.
“If you train properly you can come out perfectly fine,” Lacy added.
With only one day left before the first marathon commences, Nageotte, Rus and their 23 companions around the lake can only hope their bodies are ready, and their support teams are supplied with plenty of power gels and water.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.