Running: Battle Born dominates Odyssey
By Chris Murray
August 26, 2009
For four years, Battle Born captain John Ostezan and his team have been striving to break the 18-hour mark at the Reno-Tahoe Odysse.
As one of the race officials announced that the team had just 3 minutes left until its goal, spectators began to cheer as 19-year-old Jake McCain, the youngest member of the team, rounded the corner and finished the home stretch for Battle Born.
The Reno-based team was able to accomplish its feat, finishing the 178-mile relay run in 17 hours, 57 minutes and 32 seconds, breaking the course record by nearly 6 minutes.
"I wanted that last leg," McCain said. "I was really nervous, but I wanted to be that guy."
As a team, Battle Born has competed and won the last four Odyssey races, setting a course record each year.
In the first year of the race, Ostezan raced with team Eclipse and took second overall behind a team from San Diego.
"After losing to a team from San Diego, I decided to recruit the fastest local runners in the area," Ostezan said. "We wanted to bring it back to Nevada. And all four years, we've brought our times lower and lower."
But the record didn't come without some hurdles the team had to overcome.
The 12-member team lost two of its runners after the first round because of injury.
Typically, each team member runs three legs over the length of the 36-leg course, but Battle Born had four members run four legs to replace the injured teammates.
"With two people getting injured, we had to balance it out with just 10 guys," Ostezan said. "Guys had to suck it up and run four legs. It required a lot of split-second decisions because in the midst of a race, you don't have a lot of time to decide."
Coming in second overall were the Runny Bums, also of Reno, who finished the grueling race in 18:12:09.
The Runny Bums were also runners-up to Battle Born last year, but dropped an incredible 1 hour and 18 minutes off of its 2008 time.
In addition to the overall team times, leg four of the race was an individual time trial. The 8-mile leg, known as Donner Downfall, is a 6-mile climb and 2-mile descent and is considered the toughest leg of the race and where each team usually runs its top competitor.
Ron Tibaduiza of the Runny Bums won the time trial, finishing the leg in 51:07, breaking last year's record by 2 minutes.
The Squaw Valley Free Run Cutters took third overall and won the open mixed division in a time of 19:47:41.
The Tahoe Trail Babes won the women's division in a record time of 22:43:31. They broke their record set last year by more than 12 minutes.
Race director Eric Lerude said he was happy that the event went off without any major hitches or problems.
"I'm very pleased," Lerude said. "Pleased with the number of teams and how the event went over the course of 24 to 30 hours. No one got lost and we didn't have any negative drama."
Lerude got a lot of help from various volunteers and sponsors, led by its presenting sponsor, Intuit, who also had five teams participating in the race.
"I can't say enough about Intuit and all they do for us," Lerude said. "They help us raise a considerable amount of money for non-profit organizations."
The chief recipient of donations from this year's event is Angel Kiss, a local non-profit that helps families who have children with cancer pay for some of their non-medical expenses.