Marathon is long and getting bigger |

Marathon is long and getting bigger

Mike Traum

If the numbers are any indication, the Lake Tahoe Marathon is growing beyond wildest expectations.

In just it’s second year, participation has more than tripled from 350 entrants in 1996. By race time on Sunday morning, director Les Wright expects that more than 1,200 athletes will compete in the marathon (full, wheelchair, relay, walkers and joggers), half marathon (run and walk), 10K (run and walk) and 5K events.

“I had a deep feeling there’d be more runners this year, but it was nothing you’d say out loud,” said Wright, who visited a least 10 West Coast marathons during the last year to drum up support for the Lake Tahoe event. “My ultimate goal is to make this a big event for the entire community – both the north and south shores – something (by which) everyone can do well during the shoulder season.”

Wright’s goal of eventually making the Lake Tahoe Marathon an international event is starting to take shape, as runners from Canada, Mexico, the former Yugoslavia, Australia and Japan, as well as nearly all 50 states, will run the on West Shore of Lake Tahoe.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done here. A lot of people have helped out. Now we need the entire community to understand what a huge event this can become,” he said.

The 1996 men’s marathon winner, Bernan Donnell (3:09.27), will not be back to defend his title. But poised in his place are a number of world class competitors, led by Europe’s Srba Nicolika, who won this year’s Big Sur and Philadelphia marathons. On the women’s side, Kathy D’Onofrio-Wood (3:36.52) of Truckee plans to run in 1997.

One added super-feature of this year’s event is the race will end in the Pope Beach parking lot. Last year, all event’s ended rather anticlimactically near the South Lake Tahoe city limits on State Route 89.

“After running the whole marathon down the most beautiful road in the world, finishing at Pope Beach puts the whipping cream on the top,” Wright said.

Start times are as follows: Walkers, 6 a.m.; Joggers, 7:00; Wheelchairs, 7:25; Marathon and Relay, 7:30; Half Marathon (run), 8:30; Half (walk), 8:35; 10K, 9:00; 10K walk, 9:05; and 5K, 8:55. An awards ceremony at The Beacon Restaurant is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Shuttles to the various race starting lines – Fanny Bridge, Meeks Bay, Inspiration Point and Baldwin Beach Road – will leave from Camp Richardson Resort, which is also race headquarters. Pay and free parking will be available near Pope Beach and Camp Rich. Parking inside Pope Beach ($5) will be limited to the first 80 cars and is an ideal spot to spend the morning while a spouse or friend is running.

There will be a runner’s expo at Embassy Suites on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants can pick up any pertinent information then.

Last minute signups are available. Aid station volunteers, preferably a local service organization, are still needed.

For details, contact Wright at 544-7095 or his website – http://www.laketahoemarathon – or e-mail

Two special notes: All races will be run, no matter what the weather, so dress accordingly. And, Highway 89 will be closed to all Northbound traffic until 12 p.m. Special passes are available to bypass the block.

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