Castle Peak 100K hits record numbers, earns Western States distinction (UPDATED) |

Castle Peak 100K hits record numbers, earns Western States distinction (UPDATED)

Nest year the Castle Peak 100K will serve as a qualifying race for Western States.
Courtesy of Bill Stevenson

Billed as one of the toughest endurance tests in the country, the Castle Peak 100K has become known as a race whose stunning views from high on mountainsides are juxtaposed by the pain it inflicts on participants.

Each year as more single track has been added to the area, the course has become more difficult, challenging the field of 143 runners across 100 kilometers and more than 15,000 feet of vertical gain.

This year’s event marked the largest in its four-year history, and with its success during the past years, Donner Party Mountain Runners Board President Helen Pelster announced next year’s race will become a qualifying event for one of the world’s premier ultramarathons, the Western States Endurance Run.

“We’ve now demonstrated enough sustainability that next year’s race will be a qualifying race for the Western States Endurance Run,” said Pelster. “It’s an incredible vote of confidence for what we’ve built and how great the course is.”

Since the race has become more difficult due to the addition of new single track trails, Western States’ European counterpart, Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, gave this year’s Castle Peak 100K a higher value in its points qualifying series, which, according to Pelster, resulted in more entries from international athletes.

“Since we are a 5-point, 100K, and there are not very many of those, that’s another thing that puts us on the map,” she said. “We had runners from Canada, Venezuela, Austria, Argentina, France. It was really exciting to see people who found our race through that points qualifier and booked a trip to do our race.”

This year’s event was won by South Lake Tahoe’s Patrick Parsel, who completed the point-to-point distance from Emigrant Trail in Truckee to Sugar Bowl Resort in 11 hours, 26 minutes, and 41.3 seconds. Truckee’s Forrest Chong was the top local, finishing in 21st place with a time of 14:26:36.3.

Megan Arauzo, of Novato, Calif., was the top female finisher, crossing the line 18th overall with a time of 13:46:59.5.

Betsy Nye, who is a member of Donner Party Mountain Runners, became one of four runners to complete all four years of the race. She’d finish around midnight this year in 73rd overall with a time of 18:51:26.3. Also part of the group of four-time finishers was Steve Martelli, who crossed the finish line this year with a time of 19:57:32.5. Another local, Steve Rowbury crossed the line in 38th overall, with a time of 16:09.59.2.

Record number of volunteers

This year’s race brought in a record amount of volunteers, according to Pelster, as more than 75 people came out to man the 12 aid stations set up along the course.

“Volunteering at this race is as much of an endurance event as running the race,” said Pelster. “We had volunteers who hiked 600 pounds of water out to remote aid stations, and then the next day they get up and help with two different aid stations … and then the next day they help clean everything up. It’s humbling how much people are willing to help put this event on.”

The race also marks the largest fundraiser of the year for Donner Party Mountain Runners.

“We use the proceeds to support our club activities throughout the year. Our program includes two free half marathons that we produce, as well as, weekly runs, and social events throughout the year,” said Pelster.

“Our club mission is to inform, inspire, and connect mountain runners. A lot of this is about inspiring the general public as well.”

For more information on upcoming events visit

*The original post incorrectly stated the course took runners on the Mustang Sally trail, which, according to Race Director Peter Fain, wasn’t part of this year’s race due to a portion of the trail having been built illegally on US Forest Service land. Runners instead used Crabtree Canyon.

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

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