By George Ruiz, RD
What a different a year makes. Last year the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs were nearly washed away by savage thunderstorms, this year the weather Gods smiled and gave us perfect weather for great performances in all three distances, the 100 mile, 50 mile and 55K.
Ernesto Duran 39 year old from Panama City, Panama came here thinking he had a shot at a top five finish. Coming from Panama, sea level, humid environment Duran battled labored breathing with a lead pack of 10 runners until he left Tunnel Creek aid station for the first major downhill of the race. He shot past the runners in front of him as eventual second place finisher Paolo Castiglioni of Davis, CA described “he ran like a mad man on the downhills”. “It is then that I made the decision that my race would be all about crushing the downhills and survive on the uphills” said Duran of his race strategy from that point on.
With the see saw battle with the leaders pulling away on the uphill’s and Duran passing them back on the downhills, Duran and Castiglioni would come into the 50 mile halfway aid station in third, but a quick stop put Duran in the lead going out for the second 50 miles. He quickly was passed but stay patient on his way to the Hobart aid station mile 57 and took the lead for good.
Duran made a decision to drop his hydration pack for the remainder of the race to go as light as possible. “I dropped the vest and did my Red House Loop with just one bottle. Felt good so I just stayed with one bottle the rest of the way. I ended up running out of liquids before every AS. I knew it was a risky move that I could have paid for big time later on but it helped me stay out of sight and maintain my lead. I was betting on the cool air coming in at night and not having to drink as many liquids. I am sure it probably slowed me down for the last 15 miles but by then I had many downhills and it did not make much difference. I guess it worked out”! Duran said. Duran would cruise to a victory in 20:49:05.
Castiglioni from Italy but has lived in Davis, CA for 15 years was held for 30 minutes by medical at mile 67 for low blood pressure but still managed to finish in second with a time of 21:14:24. Local favorite and RD for the Canyon’s 100K Charles Shaya at 51 years old race a remarkably consistent run to claim third in a stellar time of 21:30:24.
The run of the race was put in by the female 100 mile winner Annie Rutledge 35 of Reno, NV. In her first 100 mile race, Rutledge ran a close third as Kathy D’Onofrio of Truckee, CA and Jamie Frink of Folsom, CA battled within minutes of each other for 50 miles as they came into the 50 mile aid station 10:21 and Rutledge only five minutes behind. The two leaders could not sustain the relentless pace as Rutledge took the lead on the climb to the mile 57 Hobart aid station for good.
“I was in the zone. I took calories with no problem all day and all night. Running at night was awesome. I picked up my pacer Jackie Clark at Diamond mile 80 but she didn’t feel well at mile 85 Tunnel Creek. I was ready to go alone as I felt so good at this point when Jenny Capel comes running up to take me to the finish.” Capel as accomplished ultra runner also from Reno, NV.
In her first 100 mile attempt Rutledge not only ran the perfect race but she ran the third fastest time for a women in the TRT 100 mile, and second fastest on the current course that includes the infamous Diamond Peak loop.
Despite the perfect conditions still only 64% finished the Glimpse of Heaven and a Taste of Hell course.
In the men’s 50 mile Bob Shebest of Santa Rosa, CA came back to the course after setting the 100 mile record the previous year. With the 50 mile record in his sights Shebest was hell-bent but had nothing left in the tank to claim the record but was easily fast enough to claim the victory in 8:09:15. This came after a victory at the San Diego 100 a month earlier. Scott Dakof of Chico, CA took second 8:46:07.
Rachel Barth of Incline Village, NV only got off the wait list one week before the race. She took that opportunity and transformed it to third place overall to win the women’s 50 mile with an impressive 9:07:49 on a course that’s in her back yard.
Caren Spore (Wick) took second in a time of 9:15:26 and Darcie Gorman of Salt Lake City, UT third with a 10:11:08.
In the 55K a spirted battle ensued in both the men’s and women’s race. In the men’s Paddy O’Leary a transplant from Ireland now living in San Francisco, CA battle tooth and nail with Donald Montgomery of Truckee, CA to only finish 28 seconds apart with O’Leary just edging Montgomery on the final downhill run from Snow Valley Peak to finish 4:52:50 to 4:53:18. Jorma Gates of Santa Rosa, CA rounded out the top three in 5:13:43.
The women’s race was no less competitive and exciting as Emily Peterson of San Francisco, CA and local gal Lyndsey Bednar of Stateline, NV a kindergarten teacher in Gardnerville, NV battled back and forth before Peterson claimed the victory in 5:40:01 and Bednar in 5:43:32 ma close second place.
Special recognition goes to the three young ladies from Carson High School all age 16, Lauren Hudak, Makaela Bigley and Clare Davison trained religiously together and all completed the 55K. The next generation of ultra-runners is here.
Also a big congratulations to Julian Martinez of Oakland, CA and 86 year old Josephine Kajiwara of Ridgecrest, CA for completing their 10th TRT finish. They were presented with a nice 10-year finisher’s jacket.
A special thanks to Nevada State Park Spooner Lake Backcountry for allow us to host this race in such a beautiful venue. The USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit for the special use permitting, our title sponsors Patagonia and Clif Bar and a special shout out to High Sierra Brewing Company for all the delicious beverage supplied to the race. Other generous sponsors include Black Diamond, Injinji, Diamond Peak Ski Resort, High Desert Drop Bags, Joe Trailman Gaiters, Mars, Succeed S Caps, Reno Running Co and off course all the amazing volunteers especially the Tahoe Mountain Milers for their support.
In all it was a glorious day high above Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Mountain Milers running club looks forward to hosting the Tahoe Rim Tail Endurance Runs July 16-17th, 2016. The lottery will open on December 6th and lottery results will be posted on January 1, 2016.