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First-time marathon runner has a lot on her mind

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Targhee Orr, right, who will be running in her first marathon on Saturday, clowns around while training with her running partner Elizabeth Carr earlier in the week.
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With a flip of her blond locks and celebrity-type smile, Targhee Orr stands confidently ready to follow in some pretty big footsteps.

The 27-year-old daughter of a prominent South Shore orthopedic surgeon plans to run her first marathon this weekend in her hometown.

“I always wanted to do a marathon. I thought I’d start with one at sea level or a flat one, but I’m excited to do this one,” she said, while out on a training run Wednesday afternoon on the U.S. Forest Service trail near Camp Richardson.



She began training a month ago by jogging at least six miles, four times a week behind her Reno house with her 4-year-old German shepherd mix, Cheyenne. On the weekends, she’ll run a longer version averaging 12 or 13 miles. The regime is a common one among runners.

Oh, to be young. When asked what she thinks about during long-distance runs, she quickly answered “boys” because she needs “something juicier” than the medical discipline she’d like to go into. Like her father, Terry Orr – a U.S. Olympic ski team doctor – the young Orr hopes to become a doctor and is attending medical school at the University of Nevada, Reno.



“I thought about it hard. It’s a big thing to go into,” she said. Orr leans toward physical therapy as a medical discipline.

She approached her career like her pick of first marathon, which has become something of an abnormality for the growing lot of sign-ups here. Organizer Les Wright estimated that 20 percent are first timers this year.

Most runners don’t decide to take on an elevation of 6,200 feet for their first attempt at competitively pounding the pavement for 26 miles. Many opt for the Honolulu Marathon, which as a walker friendly, flat race, attracts more than 30,000 people with fleet feet. The hills and lack of oxygen make the Lake Tahoe Marathon more challenging.

“I’ve tried not to tell too many people what I’m doing. I guess I’m committed to finish,” she said giggling at the thought of her life publicized. “I have no shame in walking.”

Orr drove the marathon route the other day, a bit apprehensive about her upcoming endeavor Saturday.

“I forgot how hilly it was,” she said.

The young woman originally intended to do her first in San Diego four years ago with her father. Beyond specializing in the joints professionally, Orr has long performed in athletic pursuits on his feet and in the pedals.

“I fell through. I got lazy, and he didn’t,” she said.

Orr said he’s proud of his daughter’s accomplishments and believes she’ll do just fine this weekend.

“She grew up in elevation,” she said.

And after she her sister, Lisa, ran the half marathon last year, Orr implied there’s no backing down this year. What’s going to be her first bite after the marathon?

“In-and-Out – on the way home,” she said.


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