Roark delivers a kick in 100-mile race |

Roark delivers a kick in 100-mile race

Dave Price

Before the sun even came up Sunday morning, Steve Roark realized he had a burst of energy left to finish the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-Mile Endurance Run.

The 38-year-old Carson City runner made good use of that energy as he passed two runners in the final seven miles to finish third overall at Spooner Lake. Roark completed the double loop 100-mile course on trails between Spooner Lake and Mount Rose in a time of 22 hours, 51 minutes and 33 seconds.

This year’s event featured 50K and 50-mile races in addition to the inaugural 100-miler. In all, a total of 396 runners entered the three races. A total of 89 runners started the 100-miler at 5 a.m. on Saturday and 56 finished by Sunday afternoon.

It is currently the only 100-mile race run entirely in Nevada, according to Dave Cotter, who serves as co-race director along with Kevin Bigley.

“I haven’t had much sleep since Tuesday, but I don’t mind,” Cotter said. “I love the sport and I love this event. The people who come here are great.

“We have runners from New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Canada and Mexico. A high percentage of them are first-time visitors to Lake Tahoe and I’d say about 10 percent of them were running their first 100-miler.”

Roark was in fifth place when he began his descent from Snow Valley Peak, but he managed to surge past two runners in the final seven miles to the finish at Spooner Lake. He moved into third-place in the final mile.

“My legs never felt bad; I was just fatigued,” Roark said. “I ate a lot and that helped. The last 10 miles, the climb up to Snow Valley Peak and then all the way down wasn’t too bad.”

Last year, Roark finished the Western States 100, then came back three weeks later to place fourth in the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K. This time, he was joined for the last half of the race by pacer Tom Wion, who ran the final 50 miles.

“It helped to have Tom along to pace me and push me along,” Roark said. “I wasn’t talking much. I was just trying to stay focused.”

As impressive as Roark’s race was, it was 30-year-old Jasper Halekas of Oakland and the Vasque Ultrarunning Team who was first to finish the 100-miler in a time of 20:18:03.

“This is the first major race I’ve won, so I’m pretty excited,” said Halekas, who has a PhD in Space Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and still works for the university’s physics department. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will. I had a good time up here. I had some stomach issues in the heat of the day, but otherwise, my legs felt fine.”

Diane Van Deren of Sedalia, Colo., 46, was the first woman to finish in a time of 26:56:43.

“I loved the race,” Van Deren said. “I liked the race, liked the aid stations and Lake Tahoe is so beautiful. If you’re going to run 100 miles, you might as well be entertained.”

In January, Van Deren was recognized as one of Hooked On the Outdoors magazine’s Outdoor Persons of the Year award winners. Last year, she ran what is known as the Rocky Mountain Slam -the Big Horn 100, the Bear Trail 100, the Leadville Trail 100 and the Hard Rock 100. She is also a spokesperson for KPTI, a branch of the Denver Children’s Hospital.

Another local runner, George Ruiz of Carson City, finished 17th in 28:11:22. Kati Bell of Markleeville finished in 34:11:11.

In the 50-mile race, Jeff Kozak of Bishop, Calif., ran 8:46:35 to defend his title. Whit Rambach of Auburn, Calif., finished second in 9:07:09.

Reno’s Molly Zurn was the women’s winner in 9:34:26, the third fastest time for a woman on the 50-mile course. Sylvie Maracci of Los Angeles was second in 9:41:39.

Other local finishers in the 50-miler included Jeff Swan of Truckee, who was 20th overall (10:46:10); David Williams of Minden 24th (11:02:27); Michael Kleps of South Lake Tahoe 27th (11:18:25); Robert Kronkhyte of Tahoe City 30th (11:23:41); David Johnson of Kings Beach 35th (11:40:02); and Bruce Eisner of South Lake Tahoe 43rd (12:18:58).

Sal Bautista of Los Angeles was the 50K (31 miles) winner in 4:41:47. Jonathan Olsen of Modesto, Calif., finished in 4:51:06, with two other runners less than two minutes behind – Michael Moffett of Friant, Calif., was third in 4:51:29 and Peter Fain of Truckee fourth in 4:52:45.

Four other local finishers in the top 20 included Kip Garre of Olympic Valley in 12th (5:48:35), South Lake Tahoe’s Caroline Barichievich and Alan Barichievich were 17th (6:06:58) and 18th (6:07:41), respectively, while Gray Dawson of Minden finished 20th (6:13:12). Fain placed second in the men’s 30-34 age group and Caroline Barichievich won the women’s 30-34 age group.

Other local finishers included Ralph Johnson of Truckee in 29th (6:48:01); Chris Twomey of South Lake Tahoe 33rd (7:03:12); George Farmer of Incline Village 46th (7:20:17); Stephanie Hiemstra of Truckee 48th (7:21:51); Leslie Wunder of Carson City 66th (7:48:54); Chris Cunningham of South Lake Tahoe 67th (7:50:45); Tyler Davies of Carson City 73rd (8:00:00); Wendy Robinson of Truckee 81st (8:25:51); Don Freeman of Carson City 104th (9:23:26); Cheryl Surface of Carson City 107th (9:32:21); Teresa Rensch of Truckee 108th (9:32:27); and Laura Chappel of South Lake Tahoe 130th (11:51:53).

It’s a challenging event, as can be seen from the start/finish at Spooner Lake State Park, located at just over 7,000 feet. The highest point on the course is 9,000 feet, north of the Snow Valley Peak Aid Station. The elevation of Snow Valley Peak is 9,214 feet.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Tahoe Rim Trail Association trail maintenance program and the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Parks backcountry mountain bike safety patrol. The event is presented by the Tahoe Mountain Milers and Carson City-based Sagebrush Stompers.

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