Inaugural Tahoe 200-Mile Endurance Run goes off without a hitch
In 49 hours, Kings Beach resident Mike Tebbutt ran and hiked 137.7 miles of high terrain above Lake Tahoe, starting Friday at 10 a.m. and ending Sunday at 11 a.m.
And yet, he still had more than 60 miles to go to reach the finish line of the inaugural Tahoe 200-Mile Endurance Run.
“I was really starting to have dreams of finishing. But then out of nowhere my body told me not to,” said Tebbutt, who dropped out of the nation’s first 200-mile, single-loop race at Tunnel Creek after his foot and ankle began to swell — and the pain set in.
As it turned out, mile 137 was a convenient spot to end. About a 10-minute ride from his house, Tebbutt took a much-needed shower, drank a much-deserved beer and drove up to the Martis Peak aid station, where he joined his Donner Party Mountain Runners club for 24 hours of volunteer work.
Despite the sheer distance he covered, Tebbutt said his foot felt better in a matter of days, and his body was hardly sore at all.
“Overall I feel like it was a pretty darn cool race. With rest and the slow pace, I didn’t end up nearly as sore I have in other, shorter races,” he said, explaining how the slower pace resulted in less impact.
Tebbutt slept on two occasions — 60 miles in at Sierra-at-Tahoe and 103 miles in at Heavenly. After each nap, he said he felt “fantastic.” Next year, he added, his strategy is to sleep even more during the first half of the race.
“I think hitting the reset button early is the thing to do,” he said.
Perhaps due to the slower pace, a surprisingly high total of 60 of the 90 runners who started the race finished within the 100-hour cutoff.
“That did surprise me,” said race director Candice Burt, an ultrarunner herself from Washington. “I thought it would be closer to 30 percent. But our time cutoff ended up being spot-on.”
Burt said while 30 people dropped, only one runner had to be pulled off the course for medical reasons — a woman who was severely hallucinating.
The race started at Homewood and followed the majority of the Tahoe Rim Trail in a giant, counterclockwise loop around Lake Tahoe, skirting the western edge of Desolation Wilderness.
In the end, 36-year-old Ewan Horsburgh of Australia claimed victory, as he passed race leader John Burton, 41, of San Jose in the final hours before crossing the line in 61 hours, 32 minutes. Victor Ballesteros, 44, of San Rafael was second in 63:43, and Burton was third in 65:02:33.
Gia Madole, 33, of Harrah, Okla., was the top woman and 10th overall with a time of 75:56. She was followed by Michelle Halsne of Mukilteo, Wash., who was 12th overall in 77:47, and Claire Perks of Alberta, Canada, who was 22nd overall in 81:16.
Jill Anderson of Reno, who works in Incline Village, Tebbutt said, finished 17th among women and 54th overall in 97:49:04.
The most entertaining finish, however, went to Koichi Takeishi of Japan, as the 51-year-old crossed the line with four seconds to spare, in 99:59:56.
Burt said the large crowd that had gathered at the finish line formed a human arch as Takeishi neared. As he ran through, he performed his best Pete Rose belly slide across the line. The elated runner, who knew little English, Burt said, uttered the words “crazy” and “beer” before he chugged a cold one.
“I’ve never seen anything that incredible,” Burt said. “It’s the most energy I’ve ever seen at a finish line.”
Find complete results at http://www.tahoe200.com.