MassUltra Roundup: St. Croix Scenic, Coldwater Rumble, HURT, and Long Haul

Snow has started making its way into New England, and a handful of ultrarunners from the region headed for warmer climates to race during the Jan. 14-15 weekend. A few headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands, including Maine’s Nikolas Franks who capped the trip with a course-record performance. Others traveled south to Florida for the Long Haul 100, while a few more traveled to Hawaii and Arizona for 100-mile ultras, including Rhode Island’s Justin Hetherington who raced to a podium finish at the Coldwater Rumble. Those warmer weather races produced some feel-good results for New Englanders, and we have them covered in this edition of the roundup.

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MassUltra Roundup: Bandera, South Mountains, and Sandy Bottom

Bandera, Texas, was the main attraction for North American ultrarunning during the Jan. 7-8 weekend, and a handful of New Englanders were there to join in the fun, including Vermont’s Kasie Enman and Massachusetts’ Elena Horton who secured top-10 finishes in the 100K. Additionally, Vermont’s Nigel Bates traveled to North Carolina and brought home a 50K victory, and New Hampshire’s Kerri Haskins kicked off the year with a 50K in Virginia. The 2023 season is off to a fast start, and we have it covered in this edition of the roundup.

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MassUltra Roundup: Across the Years and Run Undead

The 2022 ultrarunning season is officially over and 2023 is under way. A handful of New Englanders seized one last opportunity to log a 2022 ultra or opened the new season in its earliest hours by taking on events between Dec. 28, 2022, and Jan. 3, 2023. For Sudbury’s Seng-Lai Tan, that meant a trip to Alabama for 100K ultra in the final hours of the year. For several others, that meant a trip west to Arizona for the multi-day Across the Years Endurance Festival. We have both of those events covered as we close out 2022 and welcome in 2023 in this edition of the roundup.

Across the Years

Seven New England residents closed out 2022 and welcomed in 2023 with successful races in a variety of the distance and time-based offerings at the Across the Years Endurance Festival from Dec. 28, 2022 – Jan. 3, 2023, at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Ariz.

The pioneering fixed-time, multi-day ultramarathon running event has been held annually since 1983, with the exception of two years ago when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 38th edition offered 6-day, 72-hour, 48-hour, 24-hour, 12-hour, 6-hour, 100-mile, marathon and last person standing races, all of them on a 1.686219-kilometer dirt path.

New Englanders competed in the 6-day, 100-mile, last person standing, 24-hour and 12-hour races, and a few of them were among the top performers.

Eojin Kim of Somerville, Mass., had the biggest performance of the New England contingent. The 24-year-old was among 67 participants in the 6-day race, and he finished fifth overall with 348.902 miles. Two runners surpassed the 400-mile mark with 40-year-old Budjargal Byambaa of Bellevue, Wash., topping the men’s field with 463.108 miles and 50-year-old Annabel Hepworth of Sydney, Australia, leading the women with 403.386 miles. For Kim, it was the final big performance in a year where he also completed the Silverheels 100 in Colorado, the Rio Del Lago 100-miler in California and the Bigfoot 200-miler. Kim is entered in the Triple Crown of 200s for 2023.

Joining Kim in the 6-day race was 66-year-old Scott Perrapato of South Burlington, Vt., who finished 29th overall with 201.169 miles.

Two other big performances from New Englanders came in the last person standing and 12-hour races where the women’s champions hailed from the region. Liz Derstine, 37, of Melrose, Mass., finished fourth overall out of 20 runners in the last person standing race and led the women’s field with 108.96 miles. It was her first time racing the last person standing format and first time achieving the 100-mile mark. Five runners surpassed 100 miles, led by 51-year-old Paul Nielsen of Wellington, Colo., with 140.39 miles.

In the 12-hour race, 24-year-old Krista Fasciano of Berlin, Conn., was the women’s winner and third overall finisher out of 23 runners with 55.531 miles. Mark Hammond, 37, of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, led all runners with 74.290 miles.

In the 100-mile race, 52-year-old Gregory Legier of Biddeford, Maine, finished 15th out of 33 runners in 30:57:19. Additionally, two New England residents were among the 154 participants in the 24-hour race with 44-year-old Mike Kendra of Cranston, R.I., finishing 57.626 miles and 71-year-old Gordon Smith of East Winthrop, Maine, completing 32.48 miles. 

Run Undead Ultra Trail Party

Seng-Lai Tan closed out 2022 in style with one final ultramarathon in the closing hours of the year. Tan, 51, of Sudbury, Mass., took part in the inaugural Run Undead Ultra Trail Party on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Pelham, Ala. The event – which billed itself as an “All Night Rave in Guise of a Trail Race!” –  offered 100-mile, 100K, 50-mile and 50K ultra distances on a flat 5-mile loop course through Oak Mountain State Park.

Tan was the lone New England resident in the field. He was one of three 100K finishers, completing the distance in 17:49:00. Yuri Force, 39, Newnan, Ga., led the way in 13:29:50, followed by 25-year-old Emily White of Grovetown, Ga., in 14:39:20.

Another 16 runners completed 100 miles, 16 finished 50 miles, and an additional 17 completed the 50K.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including ultrasignup.com, UltraRunning Magazine, and official race websites. We do the best we can to find as many results as possible to report on and recognize the local ultrarunning community.

MassUltra Roundup: Hellgate, Freight Train, Hitchcock, and Blaze Pioneer

As the 2022 ultramarathon racing season nears its conclusion a handful of runners from New England squeezed in one last race during the Dec. 10-11 weekend. Their winter effort paid off in a big way for a few of them with finishes on or near the podium. That included New Hampshire’s Leah Nicholson who earned a runner-up finish at the Hellgate 100K in Virginia, as well as Boston’s Bridget Gormley who came within seconds of the podium at the Freight Train 50K in Virginia, and Maine’s Tyler Lupien who landed in the top five at his first 100-miler in Iowa. Those efforts and more are included in this edition of the roundup.

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Results: Seth’s Fat Ass 50K

The 12th edition of Seth’s Fat Ass 50K took place on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Forest Park in Springfield, Mass. Runners once again took on a 5K paved loop course and had seven hours to complete 10 loops for a 50K ultramarathon. Thirty-five runners started the race and 22 ultimately achieved an ultramarathon finish within the time limit.

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G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K to Open 2023 Ultra Season in Massachusetts

Ultrarunners looking to get a quick start to their 2023 season won’t have to wait long to do so. The legendary Gil’s Athletic Club (GAC) will once again provide an early ultra opportunity when it plays host to the 23rd annual G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield.

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Photos: 2022 TARC Fells Winter Ultra

The Trail Animals Running Club closed out its 2022 season with the annual TARC Fells Winter Ultra 40-mile and 32-mile trail ultras on the Skyline Trail at the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, Mass. The following are a small sample of the photos taken by MassUltra Editor Chris Wristen at the race. A full gallery of more than 175 photos can be viewed at this link.

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MassUltra Roundup: McDowell Mountain Frenzy, Cloudland Canyon, and Brazos Bend

December is upon us, and with it comes the final few weeks of the 2022 ultramarathon season. Races are becoming fewer across the country, but New England residents are still finding places to compete. Locally, the Trail Animals Running Club played host to its annual Fells Winter Ultra, which was the most popular attraction for regional ultrarunners. A handful headed elsewhere to race on Dec. 3-4, led by Rhode Island’s Ben Quatromoni who competed for a Salomon professional sponsorship in Arizona. A few others traveled to Georgia and Texas to take on new trails. All of those races are featured in this edition of the roundup.

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Going beyond the marathon in Massachusetts