U.S. Biathlon Team’s Patrick Johnson wins Billy Dutton Uphill
2016 Billy Dutton Uphill results
Top 10 overall, top 5 women
1. Patrick Johnson, Anchorage, 35:52.6
2. JP Donovan, Incline Village, 36:54.5
3. Spencer Eusden, Truckee, 38:05.4
4. Wyatt Fereday, Reno, 38:52.1
5. Ed Sweet, Truckee, 42:29.8
6. Jeff Schloss, Truckee, 42:40.2
7. Matthew Sanford, Reno, 43:04.5
*8. Kimball Pier, Truckee, 43:26.9
9. Peter Hanson, Incline Village, 45:08.5
10. Molly Zurn, Reno, 47:47.2
11. Maryellen Benier, Truckee, 51:06.3
23. Kim Demattei, Reno, 58:32.1
24. Danae Anderson, Truckee, 59:15.2
*Indicates top woman.
OLYMPIC VALLEY — The annual Billy Dutton Uphill at Squaw Valley has an unwritten caveat that’s not given away in the name: The final stretch is mostly downhill.
So when skier Patrick Johnson glided past JP Donovan — a runner — with the finish line in sight Sunday morning, Donovan knew he was toast.
“You’ve gotta be way ahead on that part,” said Donovan, an Incline Village triathlete and trail runner who has twice won the historic uphill race. “I got away a little bit from Patrick, but then he wasn’t too far behind me where you start going downhill. And then maybe 15 seconds into that, he just came flying by me tucking. I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s it.’”
Donovan watched Johnson, who is a member of the U.S. Biathlon Team, pull away for the win in a time of 35:52.6. Donovan crossed the line about a minute behind, in 36:54.5, and was followed by skiers Spencer Eusden of Truckee in third (38:05.4), Wyatt Fereday of Reno in fourth (38:52.1) and Ed Sweet of Truckee rounding out the top five (42:29.8).
Truckee’s Kimball Pier, a longtime Billy Dutton Uphill participant, claimed the win in the women’s field and was eighth overall with a time of 43:26.9. Reno’s Molly Zurn (47:47.2) and Maryellen Benier (51:06.3) of Truckee placed second and third among women, respectively.
A smaller-than-average group participated in the 26th edition of the race, which took place on a dark, soggy morning. Starting at the bottom of Mountain Run, at 6,200 feet, some 67 brave souls climbed 2,000 vertical feet in 3.2 miles to High Camp.
As always, the field was split between cross-country skiers and runners/snowshoers. Skiers held the advantage, as Donovan was the only runner to finish among the top 13. Mark Helmus of Vacaville and Jeff Hartman of Tahoe City were the next runners, in 14th and 15th, respectively.
Nordic racing coach Jeff Schloss of Truckee placed sixth overall and was joined in the top 10 by Reno’s Matthew Sanford, Pier, Peter Hanson of Incline Village and Zurn.
The Billy Dutton Uphill is held each April in honor of the late Billy Dutton, who helped establish Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue in 1976 and died at an early age of brain cancer. The race, which was canceled last year due to a lack of snow, now serves as a fundraiser for Far West Nordic’s juniors programs.
Complete results can be found on the Far West Nordic website.