Beautiful but brutal (about: 2012)|
G. R. from Wheeler, MI (10/11/12)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Emerald Bay Marathon
This marathon is part of the Lake Tahoe Triple: Emerald Bay on Friday, Cal-Neva on Saturday, and the big Lake Tahoe Marathon on Sunday. I ran the Emerald Bay and Cal-Neva this year, these comments are about Emerald Bay.
The Emerald Bay Marathon is advertised as a bare-bones marathon with very little support, and it lived up to that billing. I expected this going in and planned accordingly. The day started out just as scheduled, a bus picked us up from the Embassy Suites in South Lake Tahoe and took us to the start of the race at Inspiration Point at Emerald Bay. What a great place to start a run! The RD sent us all off with by firing a shot from his rifle, and we were on our way.
Course: The first 5 miles or so was all down hill coming off from the point. This portion offered some amazing views and the road was closed to traffic for the start, which was nice. It is a very curvy and hilly road, and traffic on that part would have been pretty bad for the runners. After we got off that mountain peak, we ran along the shore through some old settlements, which was nice. Then we entered the town portion of the program.
The RD can't control road construction, but he can control the route. For about 2 miles (but it seemed like more) we had to battle construction trucks, machines, pavers, etc. The constant noise and smell from the machines, asphalt and diesel fuel did not make happy runners. Add to this that there absolutely NO personal, cones, etc to direct us on where to go, and no one posted at busy intersections. We were truly on our own on a busy Friday Morning. A lady just ahead of me on this stretch came within a foot of being flatened by a car. Sidewalks were missing from the construction, so we had to run on the side of the road, or through parking lots when available. It was really bad.
When we got out of the construction area there was a nice sidewalk on which to run, and then we headed into the park where the 1/2 ended. From there we headed back to the highway and up to Spooner Bay. The road is 4 lanes here, but in most places it has no shoulder, so at points you are forced to run on the road with traffic. Cars got over when they could for the most part, but not always. There were times when you had 8' between the white line and guard rail and you had to hold onto the rail to avoid being hit by a camper, bus, or truck. In some spots I didn't feel safe. About mile 19 we ran through a tunnel, which did have one lane blocked off for the runners. The road not being totally blocked off for all runners was my major complaint for the course. The last 4 miles or so was a brutal, steep incline through more road construction. Again the noise and pollution were almost unbearable. we finally finished at the top in a little parking lot. There were a few snacks and cold beer left for us slower runners, which was nice.
Support: Almost none. There were 2 water stops before the 1/2 way point with just water, and one station with water and gatorade (I think) at the 1/2 finish. But all were just sitting on the table, no one handing them out. The station at mile 20 was abandoned by the time I got there, at about the 4 hour mark. Nothing but an empty water jug and cups on a table and no one around. There was one more water stop with about 3 miles to go, they had small water bottles, which was good. Friendly people at that one. Other than that there was no support on the course whatsoever. Like I said, I expected that, but I thought that at least there would be measures in place to keep us runners safe. There were not.
The only spectators were the crews for the other runners, but they were cheering all of us on. No one in town seemed to have a clue that there was a marathon that day. I don't need spectators, so that wasn't a big deal to me. The support crews were enough to keep me going.
The RD sent out an email after the race stating that he knew there were issues with the course and support, and that he would make changes for next year.
I would run Tahoe again, but probably not this marathon unless some changes improving runner safety were made.