Runners Rock Tahoe in South Shore half marathon Saturday
A projected 5,000 people will come to the South Shore this weekend for the second annual Rock Tahoe Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile race from Spooner Summit to Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe. The event on Saturday, June 18, presented by Epic Tahoe Adventures, features approximately 2,000 athletes and is sold out for the second year in a row. Men and women ages 11 to 80 will walk, jog and run along a course that winds along Highway 50 and passes iconic Tahoe spots such as Glenbrook, Logan Shoals, Cave Rock, Round Hill Pines, Nevada Beach and Rabe Meadow. Registration for this year’s marathon opened last June and sold out three weeks prior to race day.
“It’s amazing to sell out two years in a row and to continue to have such amazing local, regional and national support for the event,” said Jason Collin, chief officer of awesomeness at Epic Tahoe Adventures.
Rock Tahoe festivities kick off Friday, June 17, with a Pre-Race Expo inside the Revolution Ballroom at Hard Rock Hotel from 2-8 p.m. The expo is free to attend, open to the public and features booths from local and national vendors that sponsor the half marathon. Greenlayer, the apparel sponsor, will have official Rock Tahoe merchandise available for purchase. Many of the same vendors will be present on race day outside the Hard Rock from 8 a.m. to noon, and throughout the race there will be eight aid stations providing athletes with water and items from sponsors, such as Nuun hydration supplements, Honey Stinger nutrition products and Tahoe Trail Bars.
“Epic Tahoe did a great job last year and we anticipate they’ll do a great job this year,” said Georgette Hartley, integrated marketing manager at Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and participant in the 2015 Rock Tahoe Half Marathon. “It’s a fun event and it is an interesting perspective to be able to run along Highway 50 and look over at the lake.”
Race day features two start times — walkers and joggers begin on Saturday at 7 a.m., and runners start at 8 a.m. This year’s athletes come from 31 states, with approximately 80 percent of participants coming from Northern California and Nevada.
“With that said, most people are not local — meaning they’re not from the Reno/Tahoe area,” said Jessica Schnoll, queen of everything epic at Epic Tahoe Adventures. “Only 35 percent of those totals are from the Reno/Tahoe area. The vast majority have to drive into Tahoe and are spending the night, or have to fly in. So it’s a big outside demographic.”
Participants have four hours to finish the race in order to limit the duration of road closures. The lakeside lane of westbound Highway 50 will be closed from the top of Spooner Summit to the bike trail at Round Hill Pines in order to keep runners safe, and traffic through Cave Rock will be intermittently stopped to allow one-way travel through the tunnel.
“We want to do our best to not impact the local community as much as possible,” Schnoll said. “We had some traffic issues last year. Hopefully having traffic open at Kingsbury will help mediate it.”
Epic Tahoe Adventures advises drivers to consider using Kingsbury Grade as an alternate route from Carson City to South Lake Tahoe in order to avoid the closures, which will be in effect from 6-11 a.m. on Saturday. Significant delays at Cave Rock are expected from 8-9:30 a.m., as one side of the highway will be open for runners.
“We appreciate the community’s support, from everything to the businesses that have signed on as sponsors, all of our volunteers [and] groups that are hosting their aid stations. We really couldn’t do it without everyone — fantastic support,” said Schnoll.
For more information on this year’s Rock Tahoe Half Marathon, visit http://www.epictahoe.com. Early bird registration for the 2017 Rock Tahoe Marathon opens Friday, June 17.