Records will be threatened at 13th Lake Tahoe Marathon |

Records will be threatened at 13th Lake Tahoe Marathon

Dan Thrift / Sun News Service file photoLake Tahoe Marathon runners and walkers head around Emerald Bay in last year's marathon.

After winning the Tahoe Triple (three marathons in three days) in 2007, Reno’s Lynyrd Skynrod placed a cigarette in his mouth and snapped pictures with his friends. Skynrod, who sported a black, handlebar mustache, had just come up 25 minutes shy of his ultimate goal – breaking the Guinness World Record for ‘Fastest Aggregate Time ” Three Marathons in Three Days’ ” but he had a good attitude about things.

“I might do the marathon next year since it’s $1,000 to the winner, and it’s easier,” Skynrod said last year. “Sounds like an easy grand to me.”

It appears that Skynrod is staying true to his word and is expected to challenge two-time defending champion Tony Torres on Sunday at the 13th Lake Tahoe Marathon. Skynrod, 28, ran a 2 hour, 39-minute marathon in the first leg of the Tahoe Triple, a time that would’ve beaten Torres’ 2:44 mark which won the 2007 marathon.

Torres enjoys the idea of having someone challenge him this year.

“Right now, I am feeling very good,” said Torres, a Southern Californian who’s coming off a first-place finish at the Big Bear Marathon earlier this month, when he completed the race in 2:41. “If there is a little competition, it helps me to motivate myself to go faster. Plus, it’s better for the marathon and the race director when there is good competition.”

Torres also has an opportunity to become the marathon’s first three-peat winner since its inception in 1996. Torres (2006, 2007), Kenyan John Weru (2003, 2004) and Kevin Sawchuk (1998, 1999) are the event’s only back-to-back winners.

“Oh man, I want to do it. I want to win it three times,” Torres said. “But you never know with high elevation courses. There are never any easy races at that altitude, but I am motivated to come in and three-peat.”

While Torres and Skynrod are expected to challenge for the men’s title, Chuck Engle is hoping to do what Skynrod wasn’t able to do last year, which is break South African Johan Oosthuizen’s world- record time for three marathons in three days. Two years ago, Oosthuizen finished the Tahoe Triple in 8:11.08 to enter the record books.

Skynrod had a combined time of 8:33.17 in his attempt to break the record last year, but Engle brings an established running pedigree into this year’s event.

Engle has won five marathons in 2008 and is coming off a seventh-place finish at the U.S. Air Force Marathon on Sept. 20 when he ran a 2:39.57. A three-time all-American runner in college, he ran 29 marathons in 2003 – just to see if he could.

“Our Tahoe Triple is becoming a popular venue to try and break that record,” said Lake Tahoe Marathon race director Les Wright. “There’s not many places where you can run three marathons in three days without traveling long distances in between races.”

The first leg of the Tahoe Triple begins on Friday and takes runners from Emerald Bay to Spooner Summit. The second leg is on Saturday from Spooner Summit to Tahoe City, and the final leg is on Sunday in conjunction with the regular marathon.

Dick Beardsley, the fifth-fastest U.S. male marathoner, will speak several times on Saturday at Horizon Casino Resort in Stateline. Beardsley became famous following his second-place finish to Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston Marathon, which was dubbed “The Duel in the Sun.”

A two-time Olympic Trials marathon qualifier, he ran a 2:08.53 marathon in his runner-up finish to Salazar. After dealing with multiple injuries and battling an addiction to pain medication, Beardsley is now an inspirational speaker. He is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Horizon, then again during a dinner cruise at 6 p.m.

Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road) will be closed north of Camp Richardson near Spring Creek Road northbound from 7 a.m. until approximately 1:30 p.m. From the South Shore traffic is open between the city limits and Spring Creek Road, which includes Camp Richardson, Fallen Leaf Lake Road and Baldwin Beach. Local residents may get to Cascade, Rubicon and Meeks Bay by showing their address or letter from employers up until 8:30 a.m.

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