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Local Run Club Hits the Tahoe Trail
Members of Oakdale-based Tribe Social Athletics will take to the trails this Friday and Saturday as participants of Ragnar Trail Tahoe. Together the team will complete 200-plus miles during a 24 hour period, with each running three legs of the relay event. Photographed, from left: Cheryl Dodge, Wendi Stark, Kelly Kistler, Elizabeth Thompson and Tribe founder Monica Harris. Team members not pictured: Debbie Nelson, Jamee Maxey and Leah Briggs. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

It’s an endeavor which many may find crazy, confusing or perhaps inspiring: 24 hours of trail running relay style in Lake Tahoe.

For Oakdale Pilates Studio business owner and Tribe Social Athletics founder Monica Harris it’s plain and simply exciting.

This Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 Harris along with seven others will participate in Ragnar Trail Tahoe. Ragnar Relay Races are hosted throughout the world. Depending on terrain and site, relay teams are typically as few as four and as many as 24 persons. Trail events are between four and eight participants per team.

Harris began Tribe Social Club this spring, after feeling a need for a local running club in Oakdale. In time the group, which meets four times weekly, began looking for events to run as a group. In May team captain Cheryl Dodge found Ragnar Trail Tahoe.

“It’s a 24 hour period for the whole team to run a 200-ish mile distance,” Captain Dodge said, noting that the members each run three varying loops during this period averaging a total of 16 miles each.

The trail loops are color coded and vary in distance: 7.1 miles, 5.8 miles and 3.3 miles each. They vary in difficulty and distance as well. While one teammate runs, the others rest and await their turn at a base camp which will be comprised of two or three tents in a 300 square foot space.

“It’s just a social running club,” Harris said of the group and how seven of the eight team members met. “The goal of Tribe is to have people become lifetime runners. Make it fun and positive.”

While each of the team members are not new to the sport of running, many are returning from a hiatus due to injury or motivation. Many have found the club to benefit their accountability of their activity level as well as enjoyment.

“I’ve never joined a run club,” Wendi Stark shared, “but I’ve been a runner before.

“This is something I do for myself,” Stark continued. “I’ve learned that I can do it and I’ve learned to not take it so seriously. I was always very hard on myself too.”

The group agrees the club has been a large part of finding the fun in running for each of them, all noting a tendency to be a bit hard on themselves in the way of goals and expectations prior to meeting the Tribe group.

Not only does the group host scheduled runs, cross training opportunities and event fun, coaches are also on hand to aid members with form and challenge them a bit.

“They motivate me to run every day,” Tribe Coach Kelly Kistler said. “It’s really awesome. It’s really a team.”

As a coach I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know these women in a way I would not have had any other way,” she continued.

“It’s just been incredible,” Harris echoed of the overall experience as they prepare for the 24 hour relay.

As a former competitive runner and cyclist, Harris shared the group has helped her cross over to the area of ‘fun’ when it comes to running and staying fit.

“I was always very hard on myself to train,” she said. “Having a social club to me was an incredible idea. I want to change my concept of myself and how I run and not running for myself.”

As for the 24 hours, varying elevations and interrupted sleep as the team works toward completing the 200 mile goal, they’re both ready and excited.

“I know I can do it,” Stark said. “It’s weird for me to say that because I’ve always doubted myself in the past. I’m excited to just have fun with it.”

For more information on Oakdale Pilates Studio visit or Tribe Oakdale on Facebook.