Reno threesome completes Tahoe Rim Trail loop first | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Reno threesome completes Tahoe Rim Trail loop first

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

As the Tahoe Rim Trail has neared completion, the race has been on to see who could run the visually spectacular 152-mile loop first.

South Lake Tahoe ultrarunner Blakely Hume has planned an attempt next month and U.S. Forest Service’s Chito Paroth is in the midst of making a name for himself. But while the local runners are planning and confronting the enormous task, three Reno men have completed the journey in three days.

Robert Sobsey, 49; Rolland Martin, 52; and Joe Braninburg, 56, embarked on the demanding run under a full moon at 4 a.m. Sept. 13 at Mount Rose and completed the task 66 hours later at 10:20 p.m. Sept. 15.

“To me it’s just amazing to have something like that so close to us. It’s so accessible,” Braninburg said. “I can’t compliment the people enough who have worked on it. It’s just a dynamite trail.”

Braninburg concocted the plan in July and eventually his solo attempt broadened to includes his Reno friends.

“I got sick in May and wasn’t able to run Western States, and once I got healed up I started snooping around in July,” Braninburg said. “After I picked up a map, I started running it and fell in love with it.”

Braninburg says the trail’s magnificent scenery minimized the mental and physical strain of most ultra runs.

“The view from Freel Peak is the most spectacular view I’ve ever seen in my life. You look down the center of the Sierra and I swear you can see Mount Whitney. The vistas and scenery up there are incredible, and hell, you can run in chest-high wildflowers and on the west side you run by lake after lake,” Braninburg said.

Except a distant encounter with a doting mother black bear, the snafus were a smattering of blisters on Sobsey’s feet and the threat of hypothermia on a chilly night on Armstrong Pass. Sobsey and Martin regrettably forgot jackets, but were fortunate that a camper let them borrow sleeping bags to restore their body temperature to normal.

“We were so optimistic when we started, but if we wouldn’t have gathered help along the way, we would have never made it. We would have had to do an extra day at least,” Braninburg said.

So how did the middle-aged men celebrate their enormous feat: “I took a bath to get the dust off and went to bed. I couldn’t hardly sleep because my body was still wound up,” Braninburg said.

Probably because Braninburg was thinking about his next adventure.

“I’m thinking about making it an annual journey,” he said. “I’m sure once the word gets out, people are going to want to do it, or at least sections of it.”


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