Ever-evolving LTM turns 14
By Steve Yingling
As the Lake Tahoe Marathon grows older, the top participants become more familiar.
In the past three years, Tony Torres of Cedar Glen, Calif., has become an LTM legend for putting together three straight marathon titles.
Torres, however, may be unable to defend his title on Sept. 27 due to an unspecified injury.
The absence of a three-time defending champion could prompt an influx of competitors who now think they have a chance of winning the 14th annual marathon race from Tahoe City to Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe.
If Torres is unable to compete, race director Les Wright is projecting Sean Meissner of Sisters, Ore., as the favorite. Meissner is another recognizable face to longtime LTM followers. He has won the Tahoe Triple three times and is obviously looking for new challenges.
Lynryd Skynrod of Reno could be another runner to watch. Skynrod shot out to a commanding lead last year before fading during an uphill stretch north of D.L. Bliss State Park. Torres’ winning time was 2 hours, 40 minutes, 32 seconds, finishing 11 minutes ahead of Skynrod.
Last year was the fastest of Torres’ winning times, but well off the course record of 2:30:55 set by Joseph Maina Ngunjiri in 2001.
Wright has done away with the battle of the sexes marathon competition, which was won by Reno’s Kristi Arthur last year. The top female marathoners were given approximately a 30-minute head-start on the elite males, and whichever gender made it across the finish line first earned an additional $500.
Consequently, the men and women marathoners will start together at 8 a.m. Sept. 27 at Commons Beach.
With two-dozen events to choose from, Wright has been able to gradually build the marathon into a popular destination for runners, kayakers, swimmers and cyclists.
Wright said that the struggling American economy hasn’t impacted his marathon week.
“We’re up five percent over last year day to day,” said Wright, crediting early bird registration discounts for keeping the registration numbers up.
Some other modifications to the marathon week include the addition of a marathon walk with a nine-hour time limit, the debut of a two-person 72-mile ultra relay, the unveiling of a 50-mile ultra run and a trial run of paddle boards during the Sept. 25 padding events.
The busy week begins with a historic run on Wednesday at Camp Richardson Lodge. The actual events begin on Thursday with the speed golf tournament at Tahoe Paradise Golf Course. The opening day of a three-day triathlon, including kayaking and swimming events, and the first marathon are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25; the ever-growing cycling races along with the second marathon and ultra events are Saturday, Sept. 26; and the premier event as well as a smorgasbord of other running events are Sunday, Sept. 27.
Additionally, a sports and fitness expo is set for Sept. 26 at the Horizon Casino Resort and free Optimist Kids Fun Runs for children 12 and under are scheduled for the same day at Pope Beach.
Costs of events range from free to $325. Wright is offering special discounts to active military personnel (30 percent) and youths 17 and under (20 percent).
For more information or to register for event(s), go to the LTM’s Web site at laketahoemarathon.com or phone Wright at (530) 544-7095. Online registration closes Friday, Sept. 25, and participants can sign up for events at the expo throughout the following day.
Lake Tahoe Marathon Week Schedule of Events
Wednesday, Sept. 23
5 p.m. – Historic Fun Run – met local runner Neal Chappell, a national masters cross country and road racing champion, at Camp Richardson Lodge for a 3- to 4-mile run around historic lake-front mansions
Thursday, Sept. 24
8 a.m. – Speed Golf – registration at 8 a.m. for three-club tournament at Tahoe Paradise Golf Course that combines golf score and running time. Event begins at 9 a.m.
1 p.m. – Free Kayak Clinic – Timber Cove Lodge Beach
Friday, Sept. 25
7:15 a.m. – Marathon No. 1 – Emerald Bay to Spooner Lake
9 a.m. – 5- and 10-mile kayak races – Lakeside Beach at Stateline
9:10 a.m. – Swim – Lakeside Beach
11 a.m. – Kayak and swim awards – Lakeside Beach
5 p.m. – Historic Fun Run – Meet with Chappell for historic easy run from Nevada Beach through native Indian campgrounds and Pony Express trails
Saturday, Sept. 26
7 a.m. – 72-mile cycle around Lake Tahoe – Zephyr Cove Lodge
7:45 a.m. – Marathon No. 2 – Spooner Lake to Tahoe City
8:30 a.m. – 35-mile cycle ride – Tahoe City to Zephyr Cove
9 a.m. – 20-mile cycle ride – Incline Village to Zephyr Cove
9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. – Tahoe Sports and Fitness Expo – Horizon Casino Resort
2 p.m. – Optimist Free Kids Fun Run – Pope Beach
10 p.m. – Tahoe 72- and 50-mile ultramarathons – South of Pope Beach
Sunday, Sept. 27
6:30 a.m. – Marathon walk – Commons Beach, Tahoe City
8 a.m. – 20-mile power walk – Homewood
8 a.m. – Regular marathon, relays – Commons Beach
8:30 a.m. – 5K – Pope Beach
8:50 a.m. – 10K – Inspiration Point, Emerald Bay
9:30 a.m. – 5K awards – Pope Beach
10:20 a.m. – Half marathon – Rubicon
11 a.m. – 10K awards – Pope Beach
Noon – Marathon, half and triple awards – Pope Beach
12:30 p.m. – Half marathon awards – Pope Beach
2 p.m. – Marathon awards – Pope Beach
2:30 p.m. – Marathon relay awards – Pope Beach
2:45 p.m. – Ultra, triple awards – Pope Beach
3:30 p.m. – Timing ends for all events
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