Over the decades, the Tahoe area has become renown as a one of the top destinations in the world for runners.
Whether it be punishing tests of will like the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run, which reportedly sold out this year’s upcoming race within roughly a month and a half, or more family friendly affairs like the annual Truckee Running Festival, the area’s races bring in thousands of runners each year to challenge themselves on trails and courses found nowhere else.
Several of the region’s races were recently awarded championship status by the oldest and largest national association of running organizations, Road Runners Club of America, bringing added standing to the region.
“It shows the growth of running in the Tahoe region,” said George Rehmet, Road Runners Club of America Western Region director. “With Western States and now Broken Arrow Sky Race, it’s amazing what’s happening in the region.”
Rehmet is tasked with selecting the sites of the Road Runners Club of America Western Region championship events across a variety of distances, and for the second consecutive year he tabbed the Marlette 50K as a regional championship race.
The Tahoe Trail Running Series event, which is organized by Big Blue Adventure, is held each August and takes runners on a course around Spooner Lake and Marlette Lake.
“When it came to selecting the Marlette 50k as the Western Region Ultra Championship one (reason) was the unique course,” said Rehmet. “Competition too, I was looking and seeing some pretty good times for a tough course.”
Rehmet said course safety and the race organizers’ relationship within the community were also important factors in deciding where championships would be held.
“We look at quality,” he said. “Not necessarily in terms of the numbers of people, but how well they support the community.”
The Marlette 10 Miler, which is held the same day as the 50-kilometer event, was named the Nevada state championship for its distance for the third year in a row.
All eyes on Tahoe
Big Blue Adventure also had two races recognized as championship events for the first time. The XTERRA Lake Tahoe 10K, held in Incline Village in mid-August, was selected as a Road Runners Club state championship. On the California side, Big Blue Adventure’s Run to Squaw 8 Miler received state championship status as well.
“The state’s reps were looking at spreading out the championships within California, and the eastern part of the state hasn’t seen too much action in terms of championships,” said Rehmet. “With Big Blue’s high quality of races the state reps decided on awarding the 8-mile event.”
Big Blue Adventure’s four championship events, according to Rehmet, are among the most of any organization in the Western Region.
For Big Blue Adventure, receiving championship status for the four events should help attract top athletes from around California, Nevada and across the Western U.S., while raising the profile of the series’ races.
“It gets on their race calendar as a championship, and in a sense it gets us out of our zone of normal competitors,” said Big Blue Adventure Director of Operations Bryan Rickards. “There are certain people that just want to do (Road Runners Club of America) championship races, so that puts our races on their eyes, and their eyes on Tahoe as well … it definitely elevates the stature, which we are really excited about.”
Aside from Big Blue Adventure’s races, the Donner Party Mountain Runners’ signature event, the Castle Peak 100K, was named a California state championship for its distance. Registration for that race is open and can be found at CastlePeak100K.com.
Registration for Big Blue Adventure’s Tahoe Trail Running Events can be done at TahoeTrailRunning.com. For information on all of Big Blue Adventure’s events, visit BigBlueAdventure.com.
Heading into its 18th year of putting on events in the Tahoe area, Rickards said the organizers are continuing to see an uptick in registration numbers for events, mostly with Big Blue’s trail running races.
“The eyes, especially of the trail running world, have shifted on to Tahoe significantly,” said Rickards. “Our trail running demand has been really strong. It’s grown a lot over the last two years.”