Runners take on Truckee’s Castle Peak 100k |

Runners take on Truckee’s Castle Peak 100k

Special to the Sun
The Castle Peak 100k was held on Aug. 26 and featured a 62-mile course.
Courtesy of Kane Cullimore |

The third annual Castle Peak 100k in Truckee, attracted endurance runners from as far as Great Britain and Canada in addition to a number of local athletes. The 62-mile trail race took place on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The challenging course is the signature race and a fundraiser for the Donner Party Mountain Runners, a grassroots nonprofit running club based in Truckee.

In the men’s race, Erik Schulte, 28, of Reno, Nev., finished first overall in 11 hours, 52 minutes, 52 seconds, improving on his second-place finish last year. He was followed by Loren Baker, 31, of Martinez, Calif., in 12:34:52 and Graham Coombe, 29, of Vancouver, B.C., in 12:46:04.

Californians swept the women’s podium, with Nu Ma, 35, of San Lorenzo, taking the top spot in 15:18:26. Nadja Heine, 32, of Berkeley, finished in 15:51:07, and Carrie Hyatt of Granite Bay, crossed the line at 16:25:11.

“I love everything about this race … the absolute gorgeous course, the friendly, supportive, and wonderful volunteers,” said Ma, who won second place at the inaugural race in 2015. She took a year off for the birth of her daughter.

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Heine agreed, “The views were just stunning, and I also really appreciated the historical context of the route. The support at every aid station and the entire atmosphere was amazing.”

The course starts near the Donner Party Picnic site and finishes at Donner Memorial State Park. Runners tour many local favorite trails, including The Animal, Tahoe Donner trails, the Donner Lake Rim Trail, Warren Lake Trail, Basin and Castle Peak, Hole in the Ground, Royal Gorge, the Palisades in Sugar Bowl Resort, Mount Judah, and finally all the way down Cold Stream Canyon.

Men’s winner Schulte improved his finishing time from 2016 by 24 minutes. Last year, he raced after an abbreviated training period due to injury.

“Having some course knowledge helped to not go out too fast this year,” he said, “I love this course … It really showcases the awesome terrain of the area.”

He said he can’t decide which is his favorite part, the Warren Lake Loop or the adrenaline-producing Palisades at the top of Sugar Bowl Resort. The Palisades section is 1.25 miles of exposed rock scrambling that runners face when they already have 50 miles of fatigue on their legs.

Just finishing the brutal course within the 20-hour time frame is a huge accomplishment. Local finishers included Betsy Nye, of Truckee, with her third finish; Drew Smith, also Truckee; and Bob Wright, of Kings Beach. Ultrarunning legend Tim Twietmeyer, of Auburn, successfully finished his first attempt at the course.

Local newcomer to the sport, Liz Wigylus, 31, of Truckee, ran a notably strong race until a hip injury ultimately caused her to drop at mile 44.

Complete results are available at

The 2017 Castle Peak 100k was presented by Salomon and produced by the Donner Party Mountain Runners, an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) running club that exists to inform, inspire, and connect mountain runners in Truckee-Tahoe.

Upcoming events include a volunteer trail work day on Sept. 23, and a 50k group trail run on October 25, 2017. Learn more at


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