Kokanee trail runs kick off two-week running bonanza | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Kokanee trail runs kick off two-week running bonanza

If you are a runner, then there is no better place to be than in the Lake Tahoe area over the next two weekends.

The Kokanee Trail Runs on Sunday is the first of two big running events for 5K, 10K and half-marathon runners. Marathoners and ultra runners will be added to the mix the following Sunday with the seventh running of the Lake Tahoe Marathon.

That Lake Tahoe’s biggest running events of the year are on back-to-back weekends is a mystery to some, but not to event organizers.

“That’s a different event. It’s more local,” said Lake Tahoe Marathon Race Director Les Wright.

Because the Kokanee runs follow wilderness trails, the event draws different runners than the Lake Tahoe Marathon participants who can visually enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe while pounding the pavement on State Route 89.

“The two events complement each other,” said Kokanee Race Director David Cotter. “They do have similar distances, but some people like running on trails and some people like Les’.

“We have never taken runners away from each other. We’re able to keep our numbers up and give everybody a good time.”

The Kokanee races continue to be popular even as the marathon has become an event that attracts runners from all over the world. When Cotter started the Kokanee Trail Runs in 1990, 75 runners turned out. Two years ago, an all-time-high 600 runners participated. The event has grown so much that Cotter can no longer pack in race equipment and materials in a Bronco II. He now uses a 16-foot box trailer.

South Tahoe High School cross country coach Dominique Westlake holds the Kokanee record in two open divisions. His record in the half-marathon is 1 hour, 23 minutes, 26 seconds and his 10K mark is 32:27. Westlake’s former runner Grant Carters has the 5K mark at 18:17.

Women’s open marks are owned by Ann Patton, 5K, 20:40; Katie Gengler, 10K, 41:54; and Mary Coordt, half-marathon, 1:37:32.

Participants running late on Sunday morning should note that since parking is limited at Taylor Creek Snow Park, alternative parking will be available at Kiva Beach, Camp Richardson and at the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center. Taylor Creek Snow Park is located 3.5 miles north of the “Y” on State Route 89.

The half-marathon begins at 9 a.m., tadpole half-mile trot at 9:15 a.m. and 5K and 10K at 10 a.m. Entry fees are $30 for the half-marathon, $20 for the 10K and 5K and $3 for the Tadpole Trot.

Anyone willing to volunteer time to assist with the runs should, call Cotter at (530) 542-3424.

— Tribune staff writer Darin Olde contributed to this story.

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