The Marlette Lake 50k – Our First Ultra

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.”

-George Sheehan

Sunrise over the start

Last August the wife and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. In keeping with the nature of my beautiful bride and our always-too-busy lifestyle, she suggested we try to run an ultra marathon to celebrate! Well… why not?

Pre race jitters

Thankfully she suggested this run with a few months warning over which time I was able to do a bit of training. We had both completed a number of marathons but his would be our first foray into the world of ultra marathon-ing…


I was quite unsure if I would be interested in such lengthy endeavor until I heard both the fact that these ultra folks walk uphill; and furthermore, they get to eat all sorts of junk food while out on course…. “I’ve been training for this my whole life”, I thought…

Gorgeous Lake Tahoe views from the Tahoe Rim Trail

The Marlette Lake 50k is a truly gorgeous running route. It gets started along the banks of Spooner Lake on Tahoe’s east shore. Much of the run is high alpine single track following the Tahoe Rim Trail. The views are truly unmatched as you look down either side of the ridge, to your left is the gorgeous blue expanse of Lake Tahoe, and to your right the Carson Valley stretches out into Nevada.

Wildflowers, snow and the Carson Valley
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Elevation profile of the race

This race consists of two major climbs over the ~30 miles of running. The first climb is about 2000 feet completed by mile 7, then for a big 5 miles of downhill. The second climb is about 1100 feet over about 4 miles. We hiked rather than ran most of the first climb which proved to save enough energy for a stronger finish.

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The route, winding around Tahoe’s East shore
Lindsay with Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe below


Lindsay picking up speed on the downhill

One of the really great features of this course is the fact that you get some of the big climbs out-of-the-way and really tear downhill with all the energy you have remaining.

Official Race Photograph of my final miles… (why this guy was at the top of the final hill…? probably few of us felt like we looked good in this moment – I’m dirty from falling on my face! )
Lindsay, with a smile, looking strong!
Sand Harbor seen from the Flume Trail

A highlight of this course is certainly the Flume Trail. One of the most picturesque locations in all of Tahoe, the trail falls away towards the Lake offering sweeping and dramatic views of all of the Basin. The trail is perched directly above the Lake Tahoe giving you that feeling you could jump off the trail and land right in the lake.


Next time I’ll go a bit faster but I had a phenomenal time on my first ultra marathon. I found that rapid hiking up the steeper stuff left me feeling pretty strong for the remainder of the running. I think I would pace a bit faster on my next attempt. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place to go for a run!

My favorite snack on course: sour patch kids. I had some gut rot by the end but I had quite a few hand fulls of these candies by the end – I love ultras!


2018 Tahoe Trail Running Series Marlette Lake 50k 2018 Registration information

Click here for the 2017 Marlette Lake 50k Results

Check out this great write-up on the race that was featured in Ultra Running Magazine. 

Check out another piece on the Marlette Lake 50k Race in Trail Runner Magazine. 


One Comment

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  1. Enjoyed your posts!

    Love “been training for this all my life””


    Sent from my iPhone



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