Marathon week in Tahoe ends with iconic record still standing
As the fall season moves along, competitive running events around Lake Tahoe are becoming more and more scarce.
One of the year’s final organized events, the annual three-day Lake Tahoe Marathon, was held last weekend, bringing hundreds of racers to compete along Tahoe’s shoreline in a trio of marathons, along with an iconic 72-mile race around the lake and its 36-year-old record time that continues to defy modern ultrarunners.
Racing kicked off on Friday, with the Cal-Neva Marathon, which took athletes on a race from Sand Harbor to just south of Homewood. The race was won by Elizabeth Lyles, of Reno. The 40 year old outpaced men and women alike to finish the race in 3 hours, 22 minutes, 40 seconds.
Racing continued the following day with the Lakeside Marathon, taking racers from Stateline to Incline Village. Kirk Nichols, of San Jose, picked up the win with a time of 3:38:35. Nick Hansen, of South Lake, was the fastest Tahoe resident, finishing in 4:24:56 for 13th place.
The three days of racing concluded on Sunday with the Lake Tahoe Marathon, taking runners from Homewood to the finish line at Lakeside Beach. Gregory Carman made the short trip from Genoa, Nev., to win this year’s race, crossing the line with a time of 3:06:00.
With three marathons in three days, organizers offer racers a chance to compete in all three as part of the Tahoe Triple.
A handful of racers completed all three distances. Rami Ghandour, of Los Angeles, took a third place, a sixth place, and 34th in Sunday’s finale. Stanley Fong, of Las Vegas, also raced in all three marathons, taking a fourth place, a fifth place, and 26th place. Virginia’s Reynolds Wilson and Utah’s Danny Wiseman were also among the top finishers to complete all three races.
On the women’s side, Christine Girardi, of Scott’s Valley, pushed through three marathons in as many days, taking a seventh place as her best result. Placerville’s Keely Carroll also finished the three races, as did Canadian runner Stacey Ebert.
The weekend also featured the 72-mile Ultra Race, which took runners on a counter-clockwise loop around Tahoe.
Thousands have embarked on the run around Lake Tahoe, but none have done it faster than legendary runner Rae Clark, who, according to race organizers, finished the loop in 1982 with a time of 9:06:11.
Clark went on to break the American 100-Mile Road Record in 1989 with a time of 12:12:19. That record stood until 2013, when Jon Olsen broke it with a time of 11:59:28.
In 2012, Olsen came close to Rae’s record around Lake Tahoe, finishing the loop with a time of 9:22:37.
This year, none of the 11 racers who set out on the route came close to the Clark’s record. Eric Johnson, of Coon Rapids, Minn., won the race with a time of 13:19:55.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.