Donner Lake Triathlon, 1998

Donner Lake Multi-Event Challenge

Note: This article originally appeared in Triathlete Magazine Online (Summer '98)

July 19, 1998

On July 19th, Donner Lake was the site of the Donner Lake Multi-Event Challenge, which included the 17th Annual International Distance Triathlon, a Sprint Triathlon, 1 mile open water swim and 10KM road race. In its 17th year, the Donner Lake International Triathlon is one of California's oldest and most scenic triathlons. Nestled high in California's Sierra Nevada mountains at 6,000 feet, and a neighbor to colossal and well-known Lake Tahoe, Donner is often referred to as the "gem of the sierras". For the second year in a row, it was the site of the National USAT relay championships. The course features a brisk 1.5KM swim in Donner's pristine waters, an extremely hilly 40 KM bike that peaks at 7,000 feet elevation, and a beautiful 6.5 mile run course that circumnavigates the lake.

For the second year in a row, Reno Nevada's, Scott Young, won convincingly in a time of 2:13:33, and Jim Grant of Walnut Creek, Ca secured second place in a time of 2:16:46. Placing third was Stewart Murray of Belmont, Ca in a time of 2:18:37.

On the women's side, the race for first place was a bit closer. Chico, California's, Diona Berexa won the race in 2:29:55, after out running perenial Donner Lake racer and former winner, Karen Chequer-Pfeiffer, who finished in a time of 2:30:32.

All weekend long the weather was perfect for the multiple events. Averaging around 75 degrees, with a slight breeze, Sunday proved to be a picture perfect race day for all participants. Even Donner Lake-- which can be on the chilly side-- was very temperate (for the sierras) and checked in around 65 degrees.

Race Director, Jennifer Miramontes, who has been involved with this race since 1989, said the reasons for coming up and racing at Donner Lake are obvious: " The scenery can't be beat, and it's a challenging, rewarding course". This year, Change of Pace (the event mangement group) added the sprint triathlon, 1 mile open water swim and a 10KM road race, in hopes of encouraging participants of all levels to race at the Lake.

Veteran triathlete and race announcer, Whit Raymond, pointed out how this rugged triathlon is similar in spirit to the extreme or adventure races that are growing popular today: "In a day and age now, especially where everybody is getting into the adventure races, and the mountain bike triathlons, and things like that, this is a road triathlon that has that same spirit". He went on to point out the appeal of a race like Donner Lake, stating, "For a triathlete, for myself, I'd love to come up and race at altitude, and race this sort of challenging venue."

For complete results from the Donner Multi-Event Challenge, visit, Change of Pace on the www at:

Scott Young 2:13:33
Jim Grant 2:16:46
Stewart Murray 2:18:37
Tim Sheeper 2:19:00
Marco Campagna 2:22:17

Diona Berexa 2:29:55
Karen Chequer-Pfeiffer 2:30:32
Susie Blake 2:36:30
Sandra Branby 2:39:30
Marianne Hernandez 2:41:42

Copyright © 1998