Reno-based relay production company sets event in Tucson

People Burning Fat Productions, a Reno company that produces 24-hour marathons for teams of runners, has extended its reach to Tucson.

The company's third Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Relay Run Adventure has drawn registration from 62 teams and 744 runners who will run a loop around Reno and Lake Tahoe June 29-30.

A new sister company, meanwhile, is organizing a similar 24-hour relay in Tucson on Oct. 12-13, and Eric Lerude, the president of People Burning Fat, says the company is looking to expand to other markets as well.

The format 24-hour runs in which relay team members usually run three segments each is growing in popularity, Lerude says, and his company is one of several scurrying to get themselves into position as producers of the events.

"This particular style of running event is on the cutting edge of the running event industry," he says.

And once the systems are in place to run a successful event, they can be fairly easily transplanted to additional locations.

"Every jurisdiction has its quirks, but the formula works," he says.

The Arizona event will be overseen by Andy Bunkse, a friend of Lerude since the days they worked together at Reno's GameTech International.

People Burning Fat's largest competitor, Ragnar Events LLC of Midvale, Utah, runs four 24-relays in locations around the country. The largest single event, the 197-mile Nike Hood to Coast run in Oregon, draws 12,000 runners and 4,800 walkers annually.

Lerude said successful relays combine three elements: a good-sized city with a population of runners, an attractive destination to attract out-of-town participants, and a course that's fun to run.

The company's Reno-Tahoe Odyssey swings runners around Lake Tahoe and through Virginia City on their return to Reno. The Tucson relay, Lerude says, will take teams through Saguaro National Park.


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