The Castle Peak 100k was the brain child of Truckee ultrarunner Peter Fain. Last Saturday, after years of planning, and with the help of co-Race Director Helen Pelster and an entire team of volunteers, the inaugural event came off without a hitch.
The course, designed by Fain, covers 62.5 miles of trail, gains over 11,000 feet of elevation, and is already considered by many to be one of the toughest 100k’s in the country.
Beginning at Stampede reservoir, the course follows the Commemorative Emigrant Trail to the Donner Lake Rim Trail. Runners then make the steep climb, about 1200 feet in 1.2 miles, to Castle Peak before making a steep descent to Castle Pass. The Hole in the Ground Trail brings runners to Donner Summit where they take on the most technically challenging portion of the race – traversing the Palisades between Mt. Disney and Mt. Lincoln. Runners then descend through Coldstream Canyon to the finish in Donner Memorial State Park.
Jace Ives of Ashland, Oregon was the overall winner with a time of 10:53:16.
Upon crossing the finish line in 13:02, first female finisher Roxanne Woodhouse immediately looked at RD Peter Fain, pointing her finger in his face, and declared emphatically, “Great race!”
That sentiment seemed to sum up the feelings of most of the runners.
South Lake Tahoe’s Ryan Weibel, who finished second overall in 11:44, described the course as, “Incredible! But so tough.”
He and Woodhouse were in agreement that the first ten miles were super fast, but there were several sections that you simply had to accept were not even runnable.
Primary among these was the Palisades. It appears this highly technical section, which required the use of hands and a lot of comfort with exposure, could turn out to be the defining feature of the Castle Peak 100k. This unique traverse will likely draw mountain runners from near and far to this Truckee race.
The race had a 1:00 AM cut off, the 20-hour time limit attesting to the difficulty of the course.
The men’s podium included Jace Ives of Eugene, Oregon in first (10:53:16), Weibel in second (11:44:57), and in a close “battle of the DPMR board members” for third, Truckee’s Chris Cloyd (12:42:21) edged out Chaz Sheya of Sacramento (12:44:23).
In the women’s race, Woodhouse took first place honors (13:02:50), followed by Nu Ma of San Lorenzo (13:52:11) in second, and Reno’s Miriam Smith (14:03:17) in third.
There were a total of 55 starters and 48 finishers. Complete results can be found here.