Reno Tahoe has world-class races year-round, training groups for all abilities (from novice to the experienced ultrarunner) and excellent running-related resources. Read on for some of our favorites.
The Emerald Bay Trail Run in September tops our list as the most scenic race in Reno Tahoe and has been named by Competitor Magazine as one of the 21 Most Scenic Trail Races in America. The 7.5 mile point-to-point singletrack course starts at Eagle Point and goes around glacier-carved Emerald Bay, a beautiful blue-green. It then follows the Rubicon Trail along the shoreline with stunning views of Lake Tahoe and finishes lakeside at D.L. Bliss State Park, perfect for a post-race swim.
The Flume Trail is one of the most renowned mountain bike trails in the West, with spectacular views of Big Blue on relatively flat and winding singletrack. October’s Flume Trail Fall Classic Half Marathon is another incredible point-to-point race not to be missed, followed by beer and discounted lunch at Tunnel Creek Café. Walkers are welcome, too!
A few local road races start or traverse under the Reno Arch, and it never gets old. The Biggest Little Half Marathon/10K/5K in April has a beer garden post-race and the USATF certified half marathon course tours through historic Reno. Valentine’s themed Run 4 Love has an indoor post-race party with champagne and chocolate, cozy swag, and encourages in-kind donations for those in need. Both run along the Truckee River and are relatively flat. Perfect add-ons to a ski vacation!
With the world’s oldest 100 mile race, Western States Endurance Run, starting in Squaw Valley, it’s no wonder Reno Tahoe is a fantastic destination for ultrarunning. Our top picks are Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs, Castle Peak 100K, Silver State 50/50, and the Broken Arrow Skyrace. Trail running groups abound as well, and all offer weekend and weeknight group runs: Silver State Striders (Reno), Donner Party Mountain Runners (Truckee), Tahoe Mountain Milers (Carson City).
Like Western States, Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs (100M, 50M, 55K) in July are on lottery entry but worth a try for a “taste of Heaven and a glimpse of Hell.” August’s Castle Peak 100K is a difficult course with big mountain climbs, a rock scramble, and epic scenery to match. It does require registrants to qualify by completing a 50 mile (or more) trail race with 7,000 feet of climbing due to its high DNF (did not finish) rate.
Silver State 50M/50K and half marathon is the only ultra in the city of Reno and also one of the oldest races in the area, occurring annually in May since 1985. The course is well-marked and is challenging with 9,200 feet of ascent/descent in the 50 miler.
The Broken Arrow Skyrace is in a category of its own. Part of the Altra US Skyrunner Series and an Ultra-Trail Mont Blanc qualifier, it draws competition from all over the world. The two-day event is part of the Alpenglow Mountain Festival in June and includes a VK (vertical 5K that summits Squaw Peak), 26K, and 52K all with serious elevation gain and loss, exposed ridges, scree, snow and of course, unparalleled views. Pre- and post-race events are top-notch with awesome swag.
The Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Relay Run Adventure is a June relay starting in Reno, going over Donner Pass and around the Western shore of Lake Tahoe, through Carson City, Virginia City and finally back to Reno, making a large 178-mile loop in 36 legs. Teams of 12 runners travel together in two vans, leapfrogging along the way and alternating runners. The RTO draws both locals and out-of-towners, who all have a blast traveling in a sweaty van, running 3 times in 24 hours, and staying up most of the night! There are shorter options too for a one-day adventure; the Capital Odyssey Relay runs legs 25-36 (Carson City to Reno, 63 miles) and the Comstock Odyssey Relay runs legs 31-36 (Virginia City to Reno, 29 miles).
After all of this running, be sure to check out Fizio athlete recovery lounge & gym for a rejuvenating recovery session. They offer a daily rate, punch passes, and monthly memberships for unlimited use of NormaTec compression boots, infrared sauna, laser therapy, cold therapy, and more.
Of course, it’s important to be properly fitted in running shoes by a professional to prevent injury; Eclipse Running (Reno), Reno Running Company (Reno & Sparks), and Alpenglow Sports (Tahoe City) are our top picks.
For a comprehensive race calendar, info on running groups, a current list of group runs throughout the week, and free fitness events, be sure to check out Bighorn Racing and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the freshest info on the Reno Tahoe running scene!
Header Photo Courtesy of Tahoe Trail Running Series