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While we’d love to bring back the race this fall, we know that the best option it to hit the ‘pause’ button. There’s just too many outstanding questions and variables. So rather, the question that’s been rummaging through our heads is “How can we make the tradition of the longest continuing relay race not lapse in 2020?” And then it hit us! Let’s bring it back to 1958 and how the race was originally conceived. Have one team run it AND make it a fundraiser.

How This Idea Came To Be

The one thing we can all agree on is 2020 has been interesting. Most students across the country are taking classes remotely in some form or fashion. What many aren’t talking about though is that many of these schools will be facing budget cuts of 20% to 50% due to the pandemic. These cuts are hitting hard in our local community especially for optional activities like sports.

Keeping The Tradition Alive

Lake Tahoe Relay - Oldest Relay Race In The US

Photo by: Local Freshies

At the same time this has been happening, we were trying to find a way to keep the annual tradition of the DeCelle Memorial alive and well. In summary, to remember Captain Robert DeCelle who was killed in action in Vietnam and not have a lapse in the longest running relay in the USA.

1958 The Year Of Inspiration

Historical Image from 1st Lake Tahoe RelayIt dawned on us… “How did the first race start?” It was a bunch of college students that in 1958 made a bet to see if they could run around the entire lake. Even though we can’t produce the full event, why not ask a few of the passionate runners to run the race just like 1958!

Connection To The Olympics

2020 Lake Tahoe Relay baton

The actual baton the participants will use

As we’ve talked about before the DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay has a deep connection with the Olympics. And it’s fitting that this year’s baton is a commemorative race baton from 2016 Rio Olympics. Mondo Track Surfaces were the “Official Track Surface” of that year’s race and created batons as a promotional item for the Games. A HUGE thank you to the El Dorado High School track coach Peanut Harm for allowing us to use it as part of this year’s race.

DeCelle Memorial & Operation Rebound To The Rescue

Operation Rebound

Photo by: Scott Leason

Combining both ideas, we’ve enlisted the help of several runners from local high school track and cross-country teams across El Dorado county along with an Operation Rebound athlete to run the full length around the lake. We’re using this run to do two major things. First, to help raise awareness about the March 2021 winter fundraiser Veterans Reunion in Lake Tahoe. And second, to use the DeCelle Memorial to raise donations for ALL high school track and cross-country teams in El Dorado county. All donations given will be split evenly across each school.

Where To Watch

South Tahoe High School runner at the DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay

Photo by: Local Freshies

Of course, if we can’t run the full event, how are you going to see the team run it? Well, you can watch live updates on Lake Tahoe TV throughout October 3rd, 2020 along with a full live feed for the last leg of the race. As we get nearer to the race date, we’ll provide more details on how and where to watch.

We Need Your Help

Our races have never been about making money. It’s about keeping traditions like this race alive. For 2020, instead of running the event, we ask you to donate to the track and cross-country teams to make sure they can run this school year. As usual, we’re putting our money where our mouth is and created three different levels of donating:

$100 – Receive an LTR long sleeve shirt, 2 Lake Tahoe glasses, and Operation Rebound baseball hat
$50 – Receive an LTR long sleeve shirt
$25 – An Operation Rebound baseball hat

How To Donate

To make sure every penny goes towards the High Schools we’re having donations go through El Dorado Community Foundation since they have a 501c non-profit designation.

You can donate online via this button:


We hope to see you all in 2021, and until then… keep on running!


A special thanks to – Eldorado Community Foundation for helping make this year’s event possible. Also, a big thank you to the Stardust Lodge for donating two rooms for our adaptive race participant, his guide, and our drone pilot.

All Schools Will Benefit Equally From Fundraiser:

As we stated above, all monies that are raised will be divided equally across ALL high schools within the region and will include the following:

El Dorado High

South Tahoe High School

Ponderosa High

Oak Ridge High School

Union Mine High school