SPOONER LAKE, Nev. — Sam Skrocke's first-ever 50-mile race this past Saturday was unfolding just as he had hoped — with him crushing the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run, and with his competition in the rearview.
But then, around mile 40, his stomach threw a kink in his plan.
“I think I just ate something that I shouldn't have at an aid station,” said Skrocke, pointing blame to a chilled, milkshake-type energy drink. “It was sitting in ice all cold and it looked so good, I just couldn't help myself. But it tore my stomach up, and by the time I recovered I had slipped into third place.”
The Truckee runner held on to his third position for the final 10 miles, crossing the finish line at Spooner Lake behind only Eric Wickland and Jeff Kozak in a time of 8 hours and 56 minutes. Wickland, from Agoura Hills, Calif., captured the 50-mile win in a time of 8 hours and 36 minutes, and Kozak finished in 8:51.
“It was tough,” said Skrocke, adding that he used the endurance run — touted by promoters as a “glimpse of heaven, a taste of hell” — as a stepping stone toward a 100-miler, which he'd like to tackle next year.
Among other top local finishes in the 50-mile distance, Paul Sweeney of Truckee ran a smooth and collected race to finish fifth overall in just over 9 hours, at 9:03, while Michael Tebbutt, owner of Twin Peaks Catering out of Kings Beach, finished 14th in 9:54.
“It didn't feel like it was my best day, but I guess I should be happy with it,” Sweeney said of his finish.
Elizabeth Davis of Arizona was the top woman and 11th overall in 9:41, Molly Zurn was the second woman and 17th overall in 10:07, and Jenny Capel was the third woman and 20th overall in 10:30.
A total of 121 of the 146 runners who started the 50-mile race reached the finish within the cutoff.
In the 50K, which Chris Knorzer won in a time of 5 hours and 12 minutes, former Olympic biathlete Glenn Jobe of Sierraville recorded a seventh-place finish in 5:50, Jamie Adams of Kings Beach finished 12th in 6:04, Chris Luberecki of Tahoe City was 14th in 6:09, and Betsy Nye of Truckee was the seventh woman and 32nd overall in 7:05.
Jorge Maravilla of Napa dominated the 100-mile race, winning by more than 2 hours in a time of 18 hours and 48 minutes. The 33-year-old's time was the third-fastest recorded in the 10-year history of the race, and about an hour off the course record of 17:47, set by Thomas Crawford in 2010.
Thomas Reiss of San Luis Obispo finished runner-up in 20:58, while Jon Olsen of Modesto was third overall in 21:27.
Only 65 of the 108 entrants finished the 100-mile race within the cutoff.
Ron Nageotte of Stateline, who completed his first 100-miler Sunday, finishing 52nd in 32 hours and 45 minutes, thinks the high dropout rate was directly related to the chilly temperatures after sundown.
“I was expecting it to be warmer than it was,” Nageotte said. “The issue for the 100-mile runners was that at night it got really cold and windy up on the ridges. You're at 9,000 feet, and the wind was very cold. I was shivering. There were a lot of dropouts, and I think most of them were because they weren't prepared for the windy, cold ridges.”
Bree Lambert of San Jose won the women's 100-mile run and placed ninth overall in 23:07. She was trailed by Jennifer Benna of Reno, who finished one place behind in 23:23, and Susan Donnelly of Tennessee, who finished 36th overall in 30:59.
Complete results will be posted this week at www.tahoemtnmilers.org.