Lake Tahoe Marathon turns 20 this Oct. 8-11 |

Lake Tahoe Marathon turns 20 this Oct. 8-11

Sebastian Foltz
Runners pass Emerald Bay during a previous Lake Tahoe Marathon. The annual event will take place this weekend, with three separate marathons and a number of shorter runs.
Courtesy Lake Tahoe Marathon |

Lake Tahoe Marathon schedule

Thursday, Oct. 8

5 p.m. Historic Fun Run to Nevada Beach

Friday, Oct. 9

7 a.m. Lakeside Marathon

9 a.m. Nevada Half Marathon

Saturday, Oct. 10

7 a.m. Cal-Neva Marathon

8 a.m. South Tahoe Open Water Swim

8:30 a.m. 5-Mile Kayak Race and Sierra Showdown Paddle Challenge

9 a.m. Carnelian Bay Half Marathon

Sunday, Oct. 11

7 a.m. Lake Tahoe Marathon (walker start)

8 a.m. Lake Tahoe Marathon and 16.6-Miler

10 a.m. Emerald Bay Half Marathon

*A full list of events is available at

Runners from Hawaii to New York will flock to the Lake Tahoe Basin next week for four days of running, paddling and swimming as part of the 20th annual Lake Tahoe Marathon, Oct. 8-11. But it is not so much about who comes in first in each of the numerous events. It’s the atmosphere.

“You don’t run this to get a good time,” race director Les Wright said. “You run it to have a good time.”

And like so many events in the area, it’s also about the scenery.

“It’s the most beautiful one anywhere,” Wright said with a pause before modifying his stance, “arguably.”

But the race director is not alone in that thinking. Since 2000, New York state resident Cathy Troisi has been making the cross-country trip to participate.

“It’s my favorite event,” she said. “Tahoe’s got my heart. It’s gorgeous”

With 358 marathons and ultra-marathons across 50 states under her belt — in the last 20 years — it’s fair to say that is a ringing endorsement.

“It’s just a lot of fun. Once you get out on the course you can’t help but to enjoy it,” Troisi said.


For former Truckee resident Barney Jones, participating in this year’s Emerald Bay Half Marathon (part of Lake Tahoe Marathon’s week of events) will bring a different kind of satisfaction. He last competed at age 80 in 2009, but has been unable to race since. Not too long after the race Jones was diagnosed with a serious case of chronic atrial fibrillation — an irregular heart beat that made prolonged activity too strenuous.

“I thought, ‘oh I’ll never be able to do that again,’” Jones said describing thoughts after diagnosis and during treatment. His condition caused him to move from Truckee to Folsom, Calif., to be closer to doctors.

Fortunately — after treatment in 2010 and 2011 — he said, “Gradually I’ve gotten stronger and better again.”

He intended to give the half-marathon another try last year, but travel arrangements didn’t work out.

“I was all set for it last year. I had no way to get up there. I couldn’t do it because of logistics.”

Because he is legally blind, Jones was unable to drive himself. But this year the now 86-year-old made arrangements, and he is intent on making his return.

“The training is going well,” he said, the day after a 12-mile practice walk. “I feel good. I’ll be interested to see how I feel when I get up to the altitude.”

Jones plans to be up in the Tahoe area for a few days prior to the run.

While he has no intentions of running — he calls it brisk walking now — Jones still has his goals.

He intends to cross the finish in under four hours and with minimal discomfort. He also hopes to finish strong, and — most importantly — have fun.

The active senior said beyond the draw of the view, the half-marathon is also very accommodating to walkers like himself.

“It’s a festive event with so many participants,” he said of his desire to return. “I love Tahoe, and I loved living in Truckee. It’s what we did when we lived up there.”


While the Sunday, Oct. 11, Lake Tahoe Marathon and Emerald Bay Half Marathon are the weekend’s signature events, there will be a host of other competitions starting Thursday, Oct. 8. Through the week there will be three full-length marathons, three half-marathons, a 5-Mile Kayak race, along with other swimming and paddling events and shorter runs.

The festivities begin, Wednesday evening, Oct. 7, with a volunteer meeting. Wright said organizers are still seeking out additional volunteers. Event registration will remain open online through Tuesday, Oct. 6, and be in-person at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel up until the night before each event. The hotel will serve as the base of operations for the week and will host a sports and fitness expo through the week. All paddling and swimming events are scheduled for Saturday.

More event and course information and race registration can be found at

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