The Reno Tahoe Odyssey

I know I’ve commented on this relay race before in some of my earlier posts, so I figure I might give a quick recap on how awesome, exciting, and fun it is and why you should do it.

First off, The Reno Tahoe Odyssey (RTO) is a relay run on a 178 mile course around the Reno-Tahoe region.  It is the product of and premier running event of Race178, a local professional race production company headquartered in Reno, NV that was founded by Eric Lerude in 2005 during the inaugural RTO.  Since then, it has evolved to produce a variety of races throughout the Reno area and has successfully turned the RTO into one of the premier running events in Northern Nevada & California.

The structure of the relay typically consists of 12 runners running 3 legs each for a total of 36 segments in the 178 mile course.  Teams can and do have less than 12 runners, as I’ve witnessed both Juan De Oliva, a solo runner, and Charlie & Daniel Anderson, a team of two brothers, complete the course.  The course is pretty challenging just running 3 legs with the typical 12 runner structure, so witnessing and (in some parts) running by these guys was pretty amazing.

Photo Credit: Reno Gazette Journal http://on.rgj.com/1F6w5v0
Photo Credit: Reno Gazette Journal
http://on.rgj.com/1F6w5v0

The course begins at Wingfield Park, an island park in the middle of the Truckee river in downtown Reno, which is also home to Reno’s Whitewater Park.  The loop course travels along the Truckee River towards Verdi and Truckee, making its way to the West shore of Lake Tahoe.  Runners then travel around the lake and down through part of the Carson City Valley, through the State’s capitol and historic Viriginia City back down into Reno.  The end of the course comes back through downtown Reno with a final finish in Reno’s Idlewild park for a post-race festival.  The race spans two days given the distance traveled and by the end of the race, a beer at the Finish Line Festival couldn’t sound much better.  There are also tons of food trucks, entertainment, and people to cheer you on at the festival, so the last push towards the finish line with your whole team feels even better.

RTO MAP

The main premise of this run is to have fun.  From personal experience, most runners are not there to be absolutely competitive but to have a blast with friends, family, or co-workers.  Prizes are even offered to teams with the most spirit, best costumes, best team name, and best van decorations, among others.  This type of attitude is encouraged throughout the course with themed parties at exchange points and a bunch of other celebration shenanigans along the way.  Teams of all ages, backgrounds, and locations participate in the relay and you can sort of feel the excitement from everyone while you’re there.  Costumes and team themes are encouraged, so be prepared for a little bit of craziness and definitely some laughs.

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RTO 2014 – Eclectic Company at Virginia City exchange

I’ve had the pleasure of running with Eric Lerude in the past and you can tell he is really passionate about hosting each event produced by Race178.  It is even more noticeable in the way each run is organized, promoted, and run.  Therefore, I would highly encourage running this premier event that is offered in Reno and Lake Tahoe.

The 2015 relay is sadly already sold out since registration fills up fast each year, but you can still come down and support the runners on May 29-30, 2015 or even sign up as a volunteer.  Click here for volunteer sign ups or just cheer on some runners!

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