Rocky Raccoon has long been an attraction for both first-time 100-mile runners and veterans in pursuit of a fast time.
The 2016 event was no different, and two ultrarunners from Massachusetts were among the fastest to reach the finish line Feb. 6-7 in Huntsville, Texas.
Will Swenson of Andover and Maartje Bastings of Jamaica Plain delivered standout performances and made Massachusetts’ presence felt on the five-loop course.
Swenson, 44, held his ground in the top 10 almost from the start. He was in seventh place overall when he reached the 28.5-mile checkpoint, and he continued to climb. Only a few minutes separated fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh place for much of the race, and Swenson bounced back-and-forth between fifth and sixth through the next few loops. He’d climbed back into fifth by the time he departed the 88.5-mile aid station. From there, Swenson needed just under two hours to push through the final 11.5 miles. He picked off one more runner during that stretch and crossed the finish line in 16 hours, 28 minutes, 34 seconds, good for third-place male and fourth overall.
Defending champion Ian Sharman finished first overall in 13:45:03; Paul Terranova was second in 14:24:05; and Sabrina Little was third overall and the women’s champion in 14:55:50 – the second-fastest time ever on the course by a female.
Bastings, 31, also delivered a standout performance in her first 100-mile attempt. She was the fourth-place female after the first 20 miles, and soon moved into third, which she maintained into the start of her fourth loop. She slipped a few spots back to sixth-place female by the time she completed 80 miles, but a strong push during the final loop allowed her to climb back into the fourth-place female position and finish 23rd overall in 20:03:51.
Two more Massachusetts runners, Mark Leuner of Brookline and Anne Marie Winchester of Duxbury, also finished the race. Both finished the first 48.5 miles in just more than 11 hours and were separated by three minutes at that point, but their paces separated from there. Leuner, 38, pushed ahead and crossed the finish line in 26:24:29, while Winchester battled through two grueling final loops and earned her finisher’s buckle in 28:57:03.
A total of 358 runners started the race, and 240 finished within the 30-hour time limit.