The area’s only marathon this year is so crazy, it’s being called the madathon — the Genoa Peak Completely Mad or Only Half Madathon, to be precise.
Organizer Kevin Bigley, owner of Ascent Physical Therapy, said the name has obvious origins.
“When people hear about it, they always say, ‘What? Are you mad?’” Bigley said.
And there’s good reason to react that way.
“It’s called the madathon because of the elevation gain,” Bigley said. “For the completely madathon, there’s over 5,000 feet of climbing. The half climbs around 2,300 feet.”
The start for both races — 26.2 miles and 13.1 miles — will be in Genoa’s Mormon Station State Park, and the finish will be at Genoa Park.
From the start, runners will proceed on pavement a half-mile north on Jacks Valley Road before turning left onto Centennial Road, and they will head behind Genoa Cemetery and onto Eagle Ridge Road. Just after they crest Eagle Ridge Road, they will turn left onto Timberline Road and enter onto the north end of the newly completed Discovery Trail, where they will encounter fresh mountain springs and tall pines, along with rocky, uneven and narrow trails and steep drop-offs.
Bigley said the idea for the race came as he was running on the Genoa Trail System for recreation.
“I’m always interested in trails,” he said. “My training is always on trails.”
He said the new trail system, designed and completed by the Carson Valley Trails Association, should be promoted, along with Genoa in general.
Runners from Northern California and Salt Lake City are signing up for the race, he said. Proceeds will go to the Carson Valley Trails Association.
For local runners, a series of workshops has been held to train for the event. John Fitzgerald, local athlete and graduate of the University of Montana in exercise science, gives a short lecture, then leads a training run.
The next will be at 7:30 a.m. July 27 in Genoa Park, and tapering will be the topic.
This course is not a good one for first-time marathon runners because of the difficulty of the terrain, Bigley said. But for those who do complete it, he said, the reward will be worth the struggle.
“When you get to the top of Genoa Peak, you have 360-degree views of Lake Tahoe, Reno, Carson City, the Carson Valley. It’s a tremendous view,” he said. “Being able to accomplish not just the mileage, but the rough terrain and elevation gain, will make it worth it. It’s all about the challenge.”