South African sets record during Lake Tahoe Marathon Race Week |

South African sets record during Lake Tahoe Marathon Race Week

Regardless of whether Johan Oosthuizen set a new world record at Lake Tahoe, the South African certainly came to the United States with the right attitude.

“You can’t run like a coward if you want to break a world record,” Oosthuizen said. “It’s one thing to set the pace for the first two days. But lining up for the last race on that final day, you really don’t know what to expect.”

Oosthuizen expected greatness and achieved it on Saturday, finishing the Tahoe Triple in a record time of 8 hours, 10 minutes, 70 seconds. His three-day time is a Guinness World Record for “Fastest Aggregate Time ” Three Marathons in Three Days.” The United Kingdom’s Raymond Hubbard was the previous world record holder, running marathons in Belfast, Ireland, London and Boston in 8:22.31 (April 16-18, 1988).

Oosthuizen, 33, ran the first marathon on Thursday in 2:43.36, going from Emerald Bay to Spooner Lake. He ran the second marathon on Friday in 2:43.31, going from Spooner Lake to Tahoe City. His third marathon was on Saturday in conjunction with the 11th annual Lake Tahoe Marathon. He finished in 2:44.03.

“I was quite consistent, especially for this last day’s race,” said Oosthuizen, whose personal best marathon time is 2:22.30. “I think the last day is the toughest because there are two bad climbs. On the first day, there is only one bad climb (to Spooner Lake).

“It’s much easier running at sea level, but then you have to find three marathons in a row and you have to travel. Logistically, it is much easier here because you can stay in South Lake Tahoe and rest up before each race. It’s a huge relief to get this record.”

Oosthuizen broke the previous Tahoe Triple record by almost 45 minutes.

Tony Torres had 6,223 reasons why he didn’t win the Lake Tahoe Marathon last year ” one for each foot that America’s largest Alpine lake sits above sea level.

“That was my first experience up here and the altitude got to me,” said Torres, who entered last year’s race after winning the San Francisco Marathon. “The elevation was a big deal. This year, I had a lot more experience at altitude.”

A Southern California resident, Torres ran between 100-150 miles each week in Big Bear, situated about 6,000 feet above Los Angeles. The Tahoe-specific training paid dividends on Saturday, when he won the 2006 Lake Tahoe Marathon in 2 hours, 42 minutes, 40 seconds.

Torres, who finished second last year, completed the 26.2-mile course from Tahoe City to Pope Beach two minutes faster than Oosthuizen (2:44.05).

Lisa Butler won the elite women’s race in 3:24.58. A resident of Tulsa, Okla., Butler was running for the first time in Lake Tahoe.

“I was concerned about a lot of things, but it seemed to work out,” said the 33-year-old Butler, a high school math teacher who arrived in South Shore at midnight on Thursday. “I have asthma, so the altitude does affect me a little bit here. I used my inhaler a couple of times, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was actually hoping to do 3:15.”

Butler is also hoping to qualify for the Olympic trials in the women’s marathon.

Nathan Bristow ran cross country for the University of California, Davis, so Saturday’s 10K run at the Lake Tahoe Marathon was nothing more than old memories for the 26-year-old Truckee resident.

“In college, 10Ks are about the furthest you go,” said Bristow, who has lived in Truckee for three years. “I am planning on doing the Sacramento Marathon in December. I needed to work myself up to higher mileages.”

Bristow is on his way after winning the 10K in 34 minutes, 2 seconds. A U.S. Forest Service employee who also worked at Royal Gorge Cross Country Center last winter, Bristow was competing in his first event in the Lake Tahoe Marathon.

“The 10K seemed like a good one to do. It’s pretty cool, but that Tahoe Triple sounds like an eventual goal. You want to race and get better so you are ready when it comes to the big races.”

Sean Meissner, who won the Tahoe Triple from 2001-2004, is ready to start a new streak at the Lake Tahoe Marathon after winning the 72-mile Lake Tahoe Ultra in 10 hours, 28 minutes. He started his run from Pope Beach at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning and was the first person to cross the finish line later that day at his starting spot.

“The Tahoe Triple is hard because you have to get up for it mentally, physically and emotionally for three days in a row,” said Meissner, a Sisters, Ore., resident. “This race, you only have to do that for one day. It’s cool to run around the lake in the Tahoe Triple, but it’s even cooler to do it all in one day.”

Meissner encountered some odd events during his journey. Near Burger King in Stateline, he passed three drunk men fighting in a dark parking lot. Then in Kings Beach, his support team watched a bear cross the road, though Meissner never saw it.

“I was a little scared about the fight because I didn’t know if they were going to bring me into it,” Meissner said. “I seriously sped up to get past them.”

Meissner’s goal was to run a 9:30, but he battled a tough stretch between miles 42-58, near Dollar Hill outside Tahoe City. In addition to vomiting, he walked for a portion before regaining his strength.


1. Nathan Bristow, Truckee, 34:00

Half marathon

43, Dan Tester, Truckee, 1:51:08

48, Richard Mallett, Tahoe City, 1:51:22

88. Annette Means, Truckee, 1:57:02

102, Kristin Burley, Truckee, 1:58:37

111, Martha Krieg, Truckee, 1:59:45

213, Harry Lefrak, Truckee, 2:13:07

281, Kayleen Malone, Truckee, 2:21:06

298, Brant Allen, Truckee, 2:22:43

332, Amy Desler, Truckee, 2:26:40

528, Casey Fong, Truckee, 2:56:59

529, Sharon Fong, Truckee, 2:56:59

584, Leigh Cullen, Tahoe City, 3:11:15

656, Susan Smith, Tahoma, 3:39:59

704, Janet Green, Truckee, 3:59:21

20-mile power walkand run

10. Jessica Baker, Truckee, 3:26:03, second women’s 30-34 age group


82, Amanda Conk, Tahoe City, 4:09:57, fourth women’s 25-29 age group

166, Michael O’Neill, Truckee, 4:45:14

257, Alexandria Stulla, Tahoe City, 5:19:00

259, Kathy Walsh, Truckee, 5:19:56

320, Laura Murtha, Truckee, 5:54:04

The Great 72-Mile Bike Race

2. Nate Freed, Tahoe City, 3:04:49

3. John Wagnon, Glenbrook, 3:06:21

4. Ramsey Etchison, Truckee, 3:06:24

11. Jeff Swan, Truckee, 14:30:38, second in men’s 25-29 age group

10-mile Kayak

2. Jason Hall, Truckee, 1:36:43.7

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User