On Sunday, September 11th, athletes from near and far lined up on Highway 395 in front of the Mono Lake Committee, ready to make the trek up Tioga Pass. The objective of this race is simple—athletes accept the challenge to run or walk 12.4 miles up Highway 120, gaining about 3,200 feet of elevation along the way but, as they say, “there’s only one hill!”
As race day approached, smoke from local fires began settling into the region and the threat of race-day thunderstorms loomed. But through a combination of hard work, enthusiasm, and sheer good fortune, the 41st annual Tioga Pass Run came and went without any notable snafus. Rain showers that had doused the region the day before guaranteed a crisp, smoke-free morning and mild temperatures. The dark clouds collecting in the distance over Yosemite’s high country throughout the day failed to dampen the excitement of the athletes and volunteers. Overall, this year’s event was a triumph!
Fifty-five runners and 14 walkers crossed the finish line at the eastern gate to Yosemite National Park. Runner Bret Sarnquist of Carson City, NV led the pack as the overall male winner with a race time of 1:46:08. It was a big weekend for Mammoth local Ashley Beechan, who was the first female runner to finish, with a time of 1:57:03. Having competed in the Granite-to-Granite swim in June Lake on Friday and the Mammoth Gran Fondo bike ride on Saturday, Ashley completed the Graniteman Challenge by crossing the finish line at the Tioga Pass Run.
Trisha Moyer of Sunny Slopes, who crushed the course in 2:56:23, was the first walker to finish and Randy Romero of Glendora was the first male walker to cross the finish line in 3:05:02. Other notable participants included Committee Information Center & Bookstore Manager Lily Pastel, who ran the Tioga Pass Run for the first time this year (and continued well into Tuolumne Meadows after crossing the finish line!) and Bill Dickey of Arcadia, who completed his 39th Tioga Pass Run. Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who competed in this year’s event!
The Tioga Pass Run would not have been as successful without the help from volunteers, sponsors, first responders, and Committee staff. Thanks to all who contributed to making this one of the best events yet.
To the volunteers who supported the athletes by contributing energy, enthusiasm, and most of their Sunday:
Janet Barth, Joe Woods, Maria Cowles, Lenny Cowles, John Shepherd and the Bishop Amateur Radio Club, Sherryl Taylor, Tony Taylor, Lenore Twomey, Jan Rhoades, Sophia, Karen Gardner, Cindy, Jean Dillingham, Dave Rosky, Wendy Rosky, and Igor Vorobyoff.
To the sponsors who made contributions to fuel the athletes, reward them for their prowess, and to support the work of the Mono Lake Committee:
Epic Café, Footloose Sports, Mammoth Brewing Company, Giovanni’s Restaurant & Bar, Ohanas 395, June Lake Brewing, Eastside Sports, Mammoth Hospital, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Hammer Nutrition, and Ridge Merino!
To the law enforcement officers and emergency medical responders who ensured the safety of everyone on the course.
To Committee staff members who stepped up. Together, we ran an excellent race (even though we did very little actual running):
Claire Landowski, who did the heavy lifting to ensure that nothing was overlooked or forgotten this year and kept me on track throughout the planning process; Andrew Youssef, who took hundreds of photos throughout the day and made sure that each racer got a finish line photo; Maureen McGlinchy, who took the lead on timekeeping and enthusiastically coached racers through the funnel to the finish line; Holly Alvarez, who drove back and forth on Highway 120 all day, shuttling racers back to Lee Vining; and Sophia Schuldt for starting her day extra early to make sure race registration went smoothly.
Let’s do it again next year: the 2023 Tioga Pass Run will be held on Sunday, September 10!