Western States, Tahoe 200, Broken Arrow Skyrace among events on tap
As the weather warms, droves of endurance athletes will begin treading across the Tahoe region, seeking to satiate a need to run all night or complete distances hundreds of miles long.
The area has long been a hotbed for endurance events and is home to several world-class athletes.
As in past years, the racing season opens with the Truckee Running Festival. The event, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, has become a staple in the area, attracting hundreds of runners to compete across several distances on routes that leave Riverview Sports Park and head into the Waddle Ranch Reserve.
The festival, hosted by race organizers Big Blue Adventure, also serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit group Girls on the Run – Sierras, which uses coaches in its programs to help build social, emotional, and physical skills through activity and discussions.
To donate or to register for Girls on the Run’s 5-kilometer run during the Truckee Running Festival, visit http://www.girlsontherunsierras.org.
From there, Big Blue Adventure will host events ranging from off-road triathlons to half marathons in the area every weekend through the Fourth of July. The local organizers will head to Olympic Valley on June 11 for a half marathon. The following week will feature the Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Race on June 18, and the Burton Creek Trail Run the next day.
“It’s a 6K, 12K, and half marathon trail event,” said President Todd Jackson. “That course is just epic. It’s in the watershed through Burton Creek. As far as just a pretty course, that’s one of the nicest half marathons around.”
Big Blue Adventure will close out the month with the Tahoe Off-Road Triathlon, bringing athletes to Commons Beach for a race and after party — an element of events that was missing due to COVID-19 regulations at past races around the area.
“It’s all back to normal,” said Jackson. “We’re trying to encourage people to have fun. I’ve always thought that’s one of the best parts of these things — just people hanging out.”
As far as demand for races, Jackson said he feels it’s mostly similar to previous years, despite an influx of other competitive events being held in the area as organizers try to adjust to find windows when smoke from fires or late season snow is less likely.
Jackson added that Big Blue Adventure is also seeking employees and volunteers for the upcoming race season. For a full slate of events, more information or to register for races, visit BigBlueAdventure.com.
Olympic Valley will also host the annual Broken Arrow Skyrace on June 17. The high alpine race was canceled in 2020 and then rescheduled last October. The event is divided into 11-, 26- and 52-vertical kilometer distances. The 52-kilometer course takes runners two laps from the valley floor 5,300 feet up Palisades Tahoe. Registration for the event is open until June 10 and can be done at http://www.brokenarrow.com.
One of the most extreme endurance events of the year has shifted to June after being canceled in 2021 due to the Caldor Fire.
Destination Trail Run’s Tahoe 200 Endurance run will take athletes on a 205.5-mile loop around Lake Tahoe. The event, which is sold out for the 200-mile distance, also has a 100-kilometer and 25-kilometer race. This year’s race is scheduled to begin June 17. To register for one of the shorter distances, visit http://www.distinationtrailrun.com.
Long-distance racing continues the following week as the Western States Endurance Run returns, bringing the world’s oldest 100-mile race to Palisades Tahoe. Organizers said they’re busy at work preparing trails for the prestigious event, which attracts more than 350 of the world’s top endurance athletes for a race from Palisades Tahoe to Auburn.
The Western States trail is divided into seven sections, according to officials, and is kept open by stewards who work each year as soon as the snow melts. Recently race officials announced a U.S. Forest Service project that secured $800,000 in funding for the Granite Chief Wilderness Trail Reroute Project. The trail the race uses runs roughly six miles through Granite Chief. The project intends to close existing sections of the trail that have unsustainable grades and replace them with more sustainable segments that avoid steep areas and densely vegetated areas.
“I have been very excited about this new trail since I first walked it a few years ago,” said race director Craig Thronley. “It will not only provide a more environmentally sensitive and sustainable way to traverse the wilderness and substantially improve the views, but because the new route across the wilderness will be shorter, it will allow us to make other changes farther down our event route to incorporate more single-track and sustainable trail sections.”
Due to high demand for the race, registration is done via a lottery system.
Local runners set to compete this year include Truckee’s Jeff Brown, Alexander Humenetskyj and Roger Pynappel, and Tahoe City’s Adam Kimble.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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