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Silver State 50/50 Tests Endurance (Subscriber Content)

By Andrea Laue
Published: Last Updated on
6 AM start for the 50 mile race.

The 34th annual Silver State 50/50 was run on the flanks of Peavine Mountain on Saturday, May 18.  The event included 50 mile, 50 kilometer, and half marathon length trail races, all starting in Rancho San Rafael Park and featuring elevation gains of 9,500, 6,100 and 1,500 ft.

Runners from as far away as North Carolina and Calgary, Alberta pre-registered for the event. Juan Berrelleza came from Las Vegas and was aiming for a top-10 finish in the half-marathon event. Chase Gruber, in town for a friend’s graduation from UNR and also running the half-marathon, echoed another runner when he said “that’s my goal too—not to walk.”

Silver State 50/50 is known to be good preparation for the prestigious Western States 100-mile Endurance Run (WS)  and Tahoe Rim Trial endurance runs (TRT), held in the Sierra in late June and late July respectively.


“Our history is rich with some of the great names who have ever run ultras.”


“We mimic much of the topography and conditions found at these two great races,” wrote John Trent, Race Director for Silver State. WS and TRT require runners to perform at altitude, as does Sliver State. “WS and TRT also have long, grueling climbs and descents. So do we.”

Bret Sarnquist, 3rd overall in the men’s 50K race, said of the course “I’ve run a lot of long-distance races, and this is one of the most consistently challenging courses. Asked which part of the course was her favorite, Vicki Shea, winner of the women’s 50K race, answered “the downhill, all the way.”  

A runner stretches before her event.

The longevity of Silver State adds to its prestige.

“Our history is rich with some of the great names who have ever run ultras,” noted Long. “Fourteen-time Western States 100 women’s champion Ann Trason, who is generally considered the greatest ultra runner ever, is our course record holder for the 50-miler women’s race.”

Today Silver State is also part of the USA Track & Field’s Ultra Circuit, a series of ultra runs offering a prize for overall performance at the end of the season.

Although race day conditions were cool and cloudy, a welcome departure from the planned for dry heat, the harsh winter means snow lingers on the upper reaches of the course.

Recounting his strategy on a short stretch of trail still covered by icy snow, Chikara Omine, winner of this year’s men’s 50M race and resident of Sacramento, said, “you have to slide down on your butt.”

The Silver State Striders, a Northern Nevada running club, put on the Silver State 50/50 each year. The Club also offers regular group runs and training programs for their and other races. More information is available on their website.

Full results for the 2019 Sliver State 50/50 are available here: https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=62455.