Conditions were ideal for the 13th Reno Tahoe Odyssey, a 178-mile annual relay races that winds through Reno and Tahoe.
Image courtesy of Visit Reno Tahoe
One newly-formed, elite team set a course record this year. Dubbing themselves Fueled by Isagenix, the team completed the loop in 17 hours, 7 minutes and 52 seconds. This put them at an unbelievable pace of 5:46 per mile, reaching the finish line at Idlewild Park at 9 a.m. Saturday morning after the 4 p.m. start on Friday afternoon.
Fueled beat the previous record of 17:13:51, previously held by Nutz. The Fueled team is made up of runners from both Reno and Bend, Oregon. Team captain Jeff Limpert was excited to put together a team to compete with two already established elites: the Runny Bums and Nutz. He casually brought up the idea to his friend Thomas Morgan last year and soon the dream became a reality as fast runner joined the duo.
“I said there’s these two teams that win every year. We should get a third team together and mix it up. That was the goal,” Limpert said. “It all came together perfect.”
Reno teammates are Cory Halfbuhr, Rick Floyd, Erik Schults, Ben Tedore and Jeff Limpert. The Oregon crew consists of Alli Morgan, Thomas Morgan, Ian Sharman, Jared Bassett, Matt Pallila, Camelia Mayfield and Byron Pittam. Even more amazing about this team, they would have clocked in even faster if they hadn’t gone slightly off course on Leg 8.
“Once we realized we had a very good shot at winning, and we looked like we could probably get the course record, we said, ‘We need something to motivate us, let’s try to get under 17 (hours),’” Limpert said.
Limpert works for the City of Reno and this was his sixth time running the RTO, however the remainder of the team were all newbies. Race director Eric Lerude later reported that the course was actually slightly longer than 178 miles, due to some changes from high water and flooding along the Truckee River. Nutz finished second with 17:28:02 and Runny Bums in third 17:31: 56.
Ultra teams consisting of only six runners were also competing in the race. Six Strips of Fried Bacon came close to the record of ultra teams, finishing at 21:13:04, only 2 minutes off from the course record set by The Sick Six in 2013. SSFB team members were Jim Harvey, Melissa Pennewell, Andy Szeto, Cynthia Amlie, Jeff MacClelan and Sarah Poindexter. All members are from Reno, except for Pennewell who comes from Rocklin, CA.
The team handed out bacon to other runners while waiting for their turn in the van. Their van was decked out with a paper mache bacon figure on the roof, dubbed “Kevin” after the Footloose actor.
Hot on the heels on the men’s ultra was The Six Pack of Hot Wheels, the fastest ultra women’s team. Five teachers and a doctor made up the team: Briana Holbrook, Abby Olde, Linde Pirtle, Eithnie Barton, Kaitlyn Weeks and Hilary Tolotti. First started as a 12-person team six years, runners slowly dropped over time and it became an ultra team.
The team was so fast that they had to stop at some of the exchange points because runners arrived too soon. Finishing at 23:41:35, the six women were faster than when there was twelve of them. Olde said a big part of the lure of the race is the festive, communal atmosphere.
“Everybody is always so positive. It’s a really healthy community activity. There’s never any fighting. People don’t get rowdy. Everybody is supporting each other. People are clapping for you. It’s a really neat thing, it’s the type of thing that I love,” she said. “It’s exercise and laughing. Everybody has funny team names.”
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