The first marathon starts at an area where someone said it is one of the most photographed places in the U.S. or close to it. Starting just as the sun was peaking out over the mountains across the lake a trooper pulled into the road, allowed the runners on the the road, and with a shotgun blast as the start gun, signaled the start of the race. It is not chip timed, so time matters when you start at the back of the pack.
|With fellow Marathon Maniac Jennifer H.|
The first few miles are a very scenic downhill run full of hairpin turns. After 3-4 miles we turned onto a bike path that paralleled the highway the rest of the way into downtown South Lake Tahoe (SLT). The first two marathons of the triple have only 4-5 aid stations along the way, mostly unmanned, and so there are crews that the runners brings along to assist in getting hydration and fuel. After people settled into their paces a few miles in you then spent most of the day seeing the same crews repeatedly, they offered help and cheering, and were a great morale boost.
Once in SLT we turned onto highway 50 and ran along the curb, very close to traffic at times, and at others with a safe shoulder to run on.
For one section, a girl blatantly lifted her arm up as if to magically stop traffic, and ran through red lights, and green left turn signals while cars were turning!! Yikes!! I am glad I lost her when I stepped into a MacDonalds right along the course to use the restroom. A few blocks later there is a Starbucks across the road, and inspired by the Marathon Maniac Dave Mari, I ran across the street to order and drink a beverage during the middle of the race. The line was long so I phoned HH to meet me there, ordered and got my cold chai, waited for HH, chatted for a few minutes once he got there, and was back off running through town, skirting the casinos and through the half marathon finish line.
|Back side of the tunnel|
After leaving town, the mostly downhill and then flat course turned to large rolling hills and slowed everyone's progress, but the scenery remained gorgeous. Once we approached the tunnel, we got our own lane protected by cones, and this would continue for the last 8 or so miles. The tunnel even had a bar that cyclists could hit triggering lights and a sign that said cyclists in the tunnel. Lots and lots of cyclists everywhere in the area. All day long I saw HH 5-6 times and he had water, gatorade, and pretzels (did not have any the first day). He offered some to runners but we did not have cups, so he could only offer them to those with hand held bottles. We bought some cups later to use for day #2.
The end of the course is a 3 mile uphill with a moderate amount of elevation gain, taking you from about 6,000ft to just over 7,000ft. Most people were walking but I maintained a slow jog uphill, knowing that if stopped to walk that I would have a hard time getting going again.
|Chatting with a Marathon Maniac leaving the last aid station|
|Last few hundred yards, the guy that passed me is just in front of me|
|Finished! Day 1. 5:13ish|
Next up, Cal-Neva Marathon, Day 2 of the Tahoe Triple Marathon.