Marathon week’s ironman – L.A.’s Wendelin |

Marathon week’s ironman – L.A.’s Wendelin

Steve Yingling

Les Wright has finally met his match.

A year doesn’t go by that the 12-year Lake Tahoe Marathon race director doesn’t add an event to his week-long devotion to endurance sports. Usually participants are content immersing themselves in one event. But now he has a posterboy for his excess of events: Dietmar Wendelin of Los Angeles.

Entering one event would make Wendelin think he was slacking.

Wendelin is the only person in the history of the marathon week to compete in an event on each day. By Sunday morning, the triathlete will have completed seven events in six days for the second straight year.

“He’s just an ironman,” Wright said. “He’s very unique. He must have zero percent body fat, and he says he has -2.”

Wendelin began his grueling week by participating in the Extreme Golf Tournament at Tahoe Paradise Golf Course. He finished second-to-last in the 16-player field but not because of his running ability. He took 118 strokes on the par-66 course while running the 4-kilometer course in 57 minutes, 5 seconds.

“I was horrible,” Wendelin lamented as he sat down to add up his strokes. “Anyone got a calculator?

“This event will go hand in hand as my worst event along with the swim. I’ve never swam more than half a mile.”

Wendelin was just getting started, though.

On Thursday he worked his upper body in the 10-mile kayak and followed that with his first two-mile swim. There was little time to recover because Wendelin was set to cycle 72 miles around Lake Tahoe at 7 a.m. this morning.

His signature event of the week – the 26.2-mile marathon – was scheduled for Saturday morning. Wendelin is aware of the difficult hills that await him, and he’s already completed 12 marathons this year. His toughest test was the Leadville Marathon, which gave new meaning to high-altitude running as participants were required to run from 10,0000 to 13,000 feet above sea level.

Despite the same workload last year, Wendelin ran the Lake Tahoe Marathon in 3 hours, 44 minutes to finish 23rd. He believes he has a 3:30 in him this year, now that he is familiar with the route.

While Sunday will be a day of recovery for those who exert themselves on Saturday, Wendelin won’t be one of them. He’ll cap his hectic week by running in the 5K on Sunday morning. If he could get away with it, Wendelin probably would enter the Kids’ Fun Run, which follows the 5K.

“It’s just a lot of fun. It’s not for coming in first place; it’s beautiful scenery, fun people, fun events and good attitudes, plus I can eat as much as I want to at the buffets,” he said.

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