Lapping the lake |

Lapping the lake

Nearly all of the teams were up to the task.

Ninety seven of 100 teams entered in the 43rd annual De Celle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay completed the 72-mile loop around the lake on Saturday.

The first seven-member team to cross the finish line was the Lumberjack Warriors, who finished in 7 hours, 3 minutes and 18 seconds. The Warriors, who were comprised of college runners from Humboldt State, Westminster and Chico State, won by more than 35 minutes over a high school team from Arizona.

However, the Warriors’ winning time was well off the all-time record of 6:16:28 set by the Stereoscope Loafers in 1982.

Teams from Chico, Calif., had won six of the previous nine titles.

Winners of divisions with a significant number of teams competing included the Impala Racing, open women champs, 8:40:41; GVH Mountain Lions, mixed winner, 8:13:53; and a combination of prep runners from Arizona, high school boys titlists, 7:35.12.

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Locally, the Tahoe Tessie Tamers finished sixth in the highly concentrated mixed division with a collective time of 9:35:33.

The Lake Merritt Joggers & Striders set a new 60-and-over men’s record with their time of 9:55:22. Len Goldman of LMJS has been named runner of the year by the Road Runner Club of America.

Event proceeds totaling $3,000 will be donated to South Tahoe High, which in turn, will earmark the money toward the new track facility under construction at South Tahoe Middle School.

The relay race started and ended near the junction of highways 89 and 50 in South Lake Tahoe. Team members ran from 10- to 12-mile legs to complete the run.

The race is named after Robert De Celle Jr., who died six days after being critically injured in 1971 while attempting to draw enemy fire away from ground troops while piloting a helicopter in Vietnam. The United States honored De Celle with the Silver Star, National Order of Vietnam and the Purple Heart awards.