Feeling the burn: Gregg, Walstad win 35th Squaw Mountain run
2015 Squaw Mountain Run results
Top 10 overall, top 5 women
1. Brian Gregg, Minneapolis (Minn.), 29:04.1
2. Patrick Parsel, South Lake Tahoe, 29:39.9
3. Calvin Swomley, Litchfield (Conn.), 30:40.6
4. Turner Zamore, Palo Alto, 31:04.2
5. Welly Ramsey, New Sharon (Maine), 31:04.7
6. Bentley Regehr, Truckee, 31:35.6
7. Jonah Belk, Waterville (Maine), 32:37.0
8. Spencer Eusden, Truckee, 33:01.5
9. Cam Regan, San Rafael, 33:03.7
*10. Kristin Walstad, Alta, 33:38.0
20. Caitlin Gregg, Minneapolis (Minn.), 36:09.9
44. Brigit Johnson, Los Gatos, 42:47.0
45. Allison Gatti, Fairfax, 42:49.8
46. Connie London, Auburn, 42:55.6
* Indicates top woman
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Every now and then, Brian Gregg embarks on a roughly 1,800-mile trip from his Minneapolis home to compete in a Lake Tahoe race. He doesn’t travel all that way to fare poorly.
Gregg, who represented the U.S. Nordic Ski Team in the 2014 Winter Olympics, topped a field of more than 390 participants in the 35th annual Squaw Mountain Run on Saturday.
The 31-year-old with red hair and a tank-like build gradually pulled away from Patrick Parsel of South Lake Tahoe before crossing the finish in 29 minutes, 4.1 seconds.
Parsel, 29, the 2006 champion and a regular top finisher in the event, finished second in 29:39.9. He was followed by 21-year-old Calvin Swomley of Litchfield, Conn. (30:40.6).
“It was fantastic to have the cloud cover. That always speeds things up,” said Gregg, referring to the overcast skies — and even a few sprinkles — that kept temperatures mild.
Gregg, who has family in Tahoe, added that he was pleased to shave more than a minute and a half off his 2013 Squaw Mountain Run time of 30:36.5, which earned him third place. He also won the 2013 Great Ski Race between Tahoe City and Truckee.
While Gregg took the overall win, three-time champion Kristin Walstad recorded perhaps the most impressive result of the day. The 42-year-old from Alta, Calif. raced to victory in the women’s field while placing 10th overall with a time of 33:38. That was the fastest women’s time since the Auburn Ski Club began keeping track in 2007, beating Gia White’s 2010 mark of 34:55.1.
The men’s record, meanwhile, stands at 28:50.1, set in 2008 by Shiloh Mielke of Weaverville, N.C.
Caitlin Gregg — Brian Gregg’s wife — finished second among women and 20th overall in 36:09.9, and Brigit Johnson of Los Gatos was the third woman and 44th overall in 42:47.0.
At 85, former Truckee resident Barney Jones was the oldest finisher, while 4-year-old Griffin Tuscano of Soda Springs was the youngest. Defending champion JP Donovan of Incline Village did not race.
The Squaw Mountain Run — now a fundraiser for the Auburn Ski Club and the Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation — is known for its leg- and lung-burning course, as it covers 2,000 vertical feet in 3.6 miles from the base of Squaw to High Camp, at 8,200 feet.
After the run, participants are rewarded with a beer, food and live music as they mingle on the grass outside of High Camp.
“The beer at the top is always nice,” Parsel said when asked why he returns every summer to race. “It’s a tradition for me.”
Barbara Futran, a 75-year-old Olympic Valley resident, chatted up Gregg as he stood in line for food, telling him how she’s participated in the Squaw Mountain Run 25 or 30 times over the years.
“My goal is always to walk it in under an hour,” said Futran, who posted a time of 1:00:25. “Not bad for 75.”
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