A weekend of running, biking, standup paddleboarding and kayaking kicks off on Sept. 27 at the annual Lake Tahoe Marathon. What began with four racing events and 300 runners has grown into a three-day, multi-sport festival drawing more than 2,500 athletes from across the country and beyond.
The weekend unofficially begins on Sept. 26 with registration events at Stateline, Nev., including an athlete expo at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. A kayak clinic will take place at Timber Cove from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and will cover stroke techniques and equipment. Kayak and SUP board rentals will be available. Also, on Sept. 26 is a fun run to Nevada Beach.
On the morning of Sept. 27, the official races kick off with the Emerald Bay Marathon and Half Marathon in the morning. These races are the first leg of the Tahoe Triple Marathon and the Tahoe Trifecta, which include three, full marathons or half marathons over the course of the weekend. Kayakers and paddleboarders can join the fun during the 2- and 5-mile races starting at Lakeside Beach and Marina in Zephyr Cove.
Swimmers will have the opportunity to compete on Sept. 27 with a choice of ½-mile, 1-mile and 2 ½- mile races. Racers will start at the same time with different color swim caps from the Lakeside Beach and Marine in Zephyr Cove.
A 72-mile bike race will take place Saturday morning beginning in Zephyr Cove along with a 35-mile race beginning in Tahoe City.
“A lot of people will be heading around the lake on Saturday. If you’re in Tahoe City, you’ll want to watch the peloton come through around 8:40 a.m.,” said Les Wright, Lake Tahoe Marathon director.
The Cal-Neva marathon and Nevada half marathon are the second legs of the Tahoe Triple Marathon and Tahoe Trifecta. They will take place on Saturday beginning at the junction of Highway 50 and Highway 28.
Young runners can join in the festivities with kids’ fun runs, sponsored by the South Lake Tahoe Optimist club. Races are open to all from toddlers to middle school ages and vary in length depending on the age categories. The event begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe.
The ultimate challenges of the weekend also will begin on Saturday. The Tahoe Double Down, which begins at midnight on Saturday, combines the Cal-Neva and the original Lake Tahoe Marathon in a back-to-back format providing 52 miles of racing. The Tahoe 72-mile ultra marathon will begin at 9 p.m. at Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe and takes the strongest of runners on a course counter-clockwise around the lake.
Runners and their families and friends can mingle before the 72-miler and the Double Down during a Sunset Pasta Cruise on the “Tahoe Queen.” The cruise will include a pasta buffet and live music during a 2½-hour cruise. The cost for dinner will be $69 for adults and $25 for kids younger than 11.
Sunday’s events kick off with the 20-mile marathon and the walking marathon. The walking marathon is a non-competitive event for participants who will finish in more than 6 hours. Finishers will be given medals and a license plate frame. There is an 8-hour time limit.
Additionally on Sunday, a 5K and 10K run/walk will depart from just south of Spring Creek Road and finish at Pope Beach. Racers will have the opportunity to catch salmon spawning as they cross Taylor Creek and wind past the Valhalla Historical Site. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers and all finishers will receive a medal.
The weekend comes to a close on Sunday afternoon with the opportunity to meet fellow racers during the After the Marathon party at Lake Tahoe Pizza in South Lake Tahoe. Marathon finishers will receive free appetizers and half priced beer.
Tahoe residents should be aware of road delays on Friday and Saturday, with road closures on Sunday. A full schedule of delays and closures may be found at laketahoemarathon.com.
By Jenn Sheridan
Photos courtesy Lake Tahoe Marathon