37th running of Lake Tahoe Relay on Saturday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

37th running of Lake Tahoe Relay on Saturday

Steve Yingling

Do you have a fixation on a particular stretch of Lake Tahoe? Then the DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay may be a way to get a better view. But you better like to run, too.

For 37 years, people have been coming to Lake Tahoe to participate in the relay, which requires teams to divvy the 72-mile loop around the lake among their seven members. Each runner will cover 8 to 12 miles during their respective leg of the race, which begins at 7 a.m. Saturday and concludes at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Dominique Westlake, who has participated in the event 10 times. “I remember one year where I had a 5-minute lead on a guy and this guy ran me down. Later on, I saw his picture in Runners World and that he was an All-American from Stanford so I didn’t feel so bad after that.”

What really makes the team race interesting is how the seven legs are divided.

“Almost everyone wants to run the first leg because it’s the premier leg and you get it over and done with,” Westlake said. “Leg 6 up Mount Bliss and leg 2 going up Spooner Summit are the toughest and the last leg downhill pounds the legs. When you hit the last couple of miles, you have no leg lift.”

In what began as a passion of former AAU administrator Robert DeCelle has been carried on by his daughter April Carter.

“The Tahoe Relay has always been a family event. All work for the love of distance running in our area, and not for gain,” Carter said.

DeCelle Sr., founder and president of the relay, died in 1997, two weeks after the conclusion of the 33rd event. He was an active participant in running throughout his adult life. His interest in running started when his son, Robert Jr., developed a talent in the sport. The relay was named in Robert Jr.’s name after he died in Vietnam.

Robert Sr. was an administrative assistant at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games. His commitment to track and field and cross country became his career as he served in numerous administrative positions for the AAU. Some of his highlights included reinstating the Bay to Breakers and campaigning to allow women to compete in distance events.

Late-registering teams have until 10 p.m. Friday, June 8 to sign up at the Lazy S Lodge, cabin No. 1 on State Route 89. The cost is $175 per team.

Classifications include high school boys and girls divisions, open men and women, coed, corporate and age groups for 40-plus, 50-plus and 60-plus. The start and finish are at Fifth street and State Route 89.

Of course, if you’re not out their for the postcard views, then there’s always the 19-year-old course record to pursue. The Stereoscope Loafers set the standard of 6 hours, 16 minutes and 28 seconds in 1982.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.