By: JACLYN MCBRIDE
Edited by: ARYA ROERIG
Nothing brings people closer than those moments during a race when you watch your teammate generously apply Body-glide to her crotch before her leg of the race. To be fair, though, she had the hardest leg of all— 8 miles with over 1,500 feet of elevation increase. She could precariously place Body-glide wherever she wanted because she was about to really, really need it.
The Reno-Tahoe Odyssey is a 178 mile course that takes runners around Lake Tahoe. Teams of 12 runners, with each runner taking three different legs of the course, alternate throughout the course of two days. At the end of each leg, runners pass off an armband to their next runner.
The 12 runners are split up into two vans, with six runners in each, to allow for a little bit of down time. My van and I ended up getting a hotel in Carson City so we could try and get a little bit of sleep.
Despite the obvious competition of speed, there are also contests for things like the most spirited team, the best team name, the best shirt, the best costume, and the best decorated van. The team that won for best name was titled “Donner … Party of 12″. Our team name was “CCF” for our sponsor Camie Cragg Fitness, a local personal training company.
I was runner number one, which means I started my team off with the first 4.8 miles out of Wingfield Park in downtown Reno. I also had legs 13 and 25. My second leg was 6.2 miles on the edge of Lake Tahoe, although it was too dark to see the lake by the time I ran it. My third leg, which started around 3 a.m., was three quick miles heading out of Carson City.
Each leg of the race also had ratings ranging from “easy” to “most difficult”. Despite the fact that my second leg was rated “moderately difficult” it was the easiest. My last leg consisted of the shortest mileage and was rated “easy”. Despite its “easy” rating, I actually found it the hardest. Rolling off of three hours of sleep and exhausted from the previous two runs, I found myself a little lost in the darkness. Luckily, the course was moderately well marked with blinking signs telling me which direction to turn.
My team and I fooling around and crawling up a very steep leg 30 while waiting for our teammate to reach the next exchange point.
The Reno Tahoe Odyssey (RTO) is best raced with amazing teammates, which I luckily had! Being stuck in a van together for two days was a very unusual kind of bonding experience.
After my van completed our last leg and handed the wristband off to van two to finish the race, we convened at a bar up in Virginia City called the Bloody Bucket.
All the other teams were amazing at helping runners when their vans were nowhere to be found. The team “Gold Diggers” was shooting water guns and sponging down hot runners. My van even made it a point to keep an eye on a hallucinating runner we referred to as “dehydrated girl”.
Overall, it was a great team effort and a reflection on how great Reno’s running community is. The race was a truly unique experience—one I will definitely sign up for again next year— and in the words of my teammate Jason, “I don’t know why they call it the RTO. They should call it FML.”