Today, some 100 runners are expected to take on the challenge of the Genoa Peak Madathon marathon and half-marathon trail races.
For longtime Carson City resident George Ruiz, the 26.2-mile trek up and down Genoa Peak is merely a warm-up.
“I’ve got the Cascade Crest 100-Mile (in Washington) coming up two weeks after Saturday, so this is actually a training run for me,” Ruiz said, chuckling. “I mean, the very next morning I plan on doing an even more difficult 31 miles.”
Ruiz, 56, is an ultra-distance enthusiast who is preparing for his 17th 100-mile race — he ran 30:21:59 at the Zion 100-Miler on April 19 — and he also serves as the race director for the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run 50K, 50-mile and 100-mile races in July. He also is a seven-time finisher at the Tahoe Rim Trail event, finished the prestigious Western States 100 in 28 hours, 40 minutes and 31 seconds in 2005 and is a two-time finisher at the Leadville 100 in Colorado.
Even though longer may be better, the Madathon still holds special significance, Ruiz said.
“It’s funny, but it was probably a year ago when I saw Kevin on the trail,” Ruiz said, referring to Madathon Race Director Kevin Bigley. “I asked him what he was up to and he said he was mapping out a possible new marathon course. So, yeah, I’m glad to be doing the inaugural running of it.”
And, yes, the 5,000-foot climb from the start of the marathon at Mormon Station State Historic Park to the top of Genoa Peak is going to be quite a challenge. So will getting back down, Ruiz pointed out.
“This is going to be a good test,” he said. “So many road runners want to make the transition to trail running, you see that all the time in ultra distance running, people with very little trail running experience jump into these really difficult races and a lot of them are surprised at how difficult it really is.”
Some talented local athletes could be contenders to win the marathon, Ruiz said. Among them is Carson City’s Hannah Riedl, a former Carson High cross-country runner who competed for the University of Montana triathlon team this past spring and was the second woman to finish at the Mt. Spokane 50K in October 2012. Jim Nelson of Gardnerville is a two-time Tahoe Rim Trail 50K finisher and in 2004 placed second in the grueling Barkley Marathons 100-Miler in Tennessee. And Kevin Peterson of Reno, a Carson City dentist, finished 10th overall at the recent Tahoe Rim Trail 50K.
Ruiz has no aspirations of winning. His focus is on the 100-mile race in Washington later this month, so he won’t be pushing at 100 percent. Instead, Ruiz is running the Madathon for a good workout and because of his love of the mountains.