- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
This race is in the top two most beautiful courses I have ever run. Breathtaking views await you around every turn, and Emerald Bay at mile 19 will move you to tears. Wait...hold on...maybe it wasn't the view as much as the ridiculous, mile-long HILL that stands between you and the best view of this world famous sight (and did I mention it was at mile NINETEEN?)
But I digress. This is a destination race you should DEFINITELY add to your bucket list.
Packed the family and drove to this patch of heaven in the mountains where the California and Nevada borders are dissected by Lake Tahoe. The town has night life, delicious food, and gaming at the Harrah's Casino was a few steps from the Host Hotel. The hotel could not have been more accommodating and welcoming to us runners. The Expo was a bit smaller than I was expecting, but the vendors were friendly, we got a terrific duffel bag and the buzz of an Expo is always narcotic (maybe it was the Tahoe Blue Vodka I was sampling?)
The elevation is HIGH (6800') and it's a factor - arriving a couple days before, staying mega-hydrated and training at this elevation is a must for successfully navigating this course. The air is crisp, clean (cold at the start) and the sky is so blue it hurts your eyes to look directly into it. White, puffy clouds trailed me the entire course and runs through the majestic tall pines and firs were spectacular.
Besides the magnificent natural beauty, this race's aid stations absolutely ROCKED. Positioned every two miles, the teams were brightly costumed with tremendous spirit and (most importantly) were STOCKED with small cups of snacks such as pretzels, M&M's, craisins, nuts, candies, grapes, etc. in the later miles. A veritable smorgasbord of fuel to keep you both hydrated and suppressing that runger that hits me at mile 18 and beyond. My only gripe about this race was the distance from the finish line to the shuttles back to the host hotel. After surviving 26.2 miles it was harsh to hear that the bus was about 1/4 mile back at the highway.
Truth be told this course humbled me. I crossed the finish line with my worst ever time. The altitude, hills, and (honestly) lack of focused training for this race all contributed to a disappointing clock time. I received small consolation hearing similar stories from other runners. Make no mistake - this is a tough race - but if you're tough enough, I encourage you to take this on and conquer it. You will have earned your medal and will create unforgettable memories.
P.S. Beyond that god-forsaken hill at mile 19, the final 6.2 miles are all blessedly and mercifully flat or downhill. Some of the most impressive views await you in this final stretch - enjoy!