Ultramarathons coming to Tahoe Rim Trail | SierraSun.com

Ultramarathons coming to Tahoe Rim Trail

Sylas WrightSierra Sun

Lured by three ultramarathon options and world-renowned scenery, distance runners from coast to coast and beyond are trickling in to the area to take part in the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K/50M/100M Endurance Runs.Come Saturday at 5 a.m., more than 400 ultrarunners between the three races will filter out on the Tahoe Rim Trail from the start line at Spooner Lake, said David Cotter, co-race director.As if the pride earned by successfully running such distances isnt incentive enough, the event serves as the USA Track & Field National 100-Mile Trail Championship, the Road Runners Club of America National 100-Mile Ultra Championship and the Nevada 50K and 50M State Championships.This year marks the seventh running of the 50K and 50M. Last year was the inaugural 100-mile race, said Cotter, who noted that each of the three runs rank among the most challenging of its kind in the country.Peter Lubbers of Oregon House, Calif., knows as much after taking on the 50K which equates to roughly 31 miles the past two summers.It was quite a tough run, said Lubbers, a former Royal Dutch Green Beret who moved to the United States in 1987.In fact, last year I did a lot better than the year before and it still took close to eight hours, which is the slowest 50K Ive ever run.Lubbers said the race has developed a fitting motto: A glimpse of heaven, a taste of hell.And thats just the 50K.The glimpse of heaven is everywhere, but the taste of hell is basically every major climb, said Lubbers, who will be competing in his first 100-mile race Saturday, which he hopes to finish in less than 24 hours. The cutoff is 35 hours after the start of the race or 4 p.m. on Sunday.Based on the feedback Cotter has received from last years racers, the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 ranks among the top five to seven in the country in terms of difficulty. Hes been told its probably most comparable to the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado, and that its even tougher than the Western States 100, which begins at the base of Squaw Valley and ends in Auburn.Its hard to compare each and every race because theyre all so unique, Cotter said. But based on the feedback we have received, its a little more challenging than Western States, mainly because of the higher elevation.Elevation on the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 course ranges between 6,800 and 9,000 feet from bottom of the Red House Loop to Snow Valley Peak while the total elevation gain and loss amounts to 19,788 feet, according to the race Web site.Lubbers, who said he recently trained on the course and is a stronger runner than he was last year, thinks his game plan will afford him a quality finish.My main strategy is to minimize time at the aid stations and just keep on moving, he said, adding that he also plans to alternate between running and walking. Thats my own personal strategy. We trained that way in the Green Berets.With the race on his mind throughout his summer training, he couldnt be more prepared.Ive been in race mode the whole week, Lubbers said. I cant wait to start.

Entry limit: 125Location: Spooner Lake State ParkCutoff: 35 hours (5 a.m.-4 p.m.)Mens course record: 20:18:03 (Jaspar Halekas, 30)Womens course record: 26:56:43 (Diane VanDenen, 38)Aid stations: 22Surface: 80 percent single-track trails, 20 percent jeep roadsClimb: 19,788 feetDescent: 19,788 feetHigh: 9,000 feet; Snow Valley PeakLow: 6,800 feet; bottom of Red House LoopStart: 7,000 feet; Spooner LakeFinish: SameFinishers (06): 89 started, 56 finished (63 percent)Sub-24 hours: 8