It should have come as no surprise that Loren Newman and Ben Eysenbach were the front-runners throughout the Wapack and Back 50-mile trail race. Both ultrarunners had proven their capabilities with impressive showings previously.
Newman, who won the 2015 TARC Spring Classic by 32 minutes and placed 17th overall at the 2015 Western States 100, brought unquestionable speed and talent. So did Eysenbach, who placed second at the TARC Fells Trail Winter Ultra in December with the second-fastest time on the 32-mile course in the five-year history of the event.
The pair dominated Saturday’s race in Ashburnham, Mass., running away from the field early on the course that starts and finishes at Mt. Watatic State Park, crosses the state border to North Pack Mountain in Greenfield, N.H., and then returns to Mt. Watatic.
Newman, 29, of Cambridge, Mass., handled the rocky, technical course masterfully en route to a dominant victory in 9:10:56. Eysenbach was unable to stick with Newman, but the 21-year-old from Cambridge, Mass., also turned in a strong and speedy performance while placing second in 9:42:23.
Newman’s winning time was the third-fastest in the history of the course, well off Josh Katzman’s record of 8:51:34 from 2013 but just behind Katzman’s time of 9:03:59 from 2012. Eysenbach turned in the seventh-fastest time in course history.
More than an hour-and-a-half gap separated Eysenbach from the third-place finisher. Chad Macdonald of New Boston, N.H., claimed third in 11:16:36, holding off Ian Torrence, 43, of Flagstaff, Ariz., who was two minutes behind in fourth.
The women’s champion, Meredith Marx, finished fifth overall. Marx, 29, of Brookline, Mass., crossed the finish line in 11:20:54, comfortably ahead of Debbie Livingston, 41, of Bolton, Conn., who was the women’s runner-up in 11:32:38.
Twenty-one runners started the 50-mile race, and 17 finished.
King Dominates 43-Mile Race
In the 43-mile race, Michael King ran away with the victory with an hour cushion. King, 26, of Augusta, Maine, posted a winning time of 8:48:24, an hour ahead of runner-up David Herr, 51, of Canaan, Vt., who finished in 9:48:19. Gregory Lowe, 52, of Ipswich, Mass., claimed third place in 10:03:33, nearly an hour-and-a-half ahead of fourth place.
Michele Maxson, 33, of Lebanon, N.H., was fifth overall and the top female with a time of 12:05:08. Women’s runner-up Elizabeth Masterjohn, 35, of Hudson, Mass., was sixth overall in 12:26:37.
Twelve runners started the 43-mile race, and 11 finished.
WAPACK AND BACK
Saturday, May 7, 2016
1 Loren Newman; Cambridge, MA; 29; 9:10:56
2 Ben Eysenbach; Cambridge, MA; 21; 9:42:23
3 Chad Macdonald; New Boston, NH; 29; 11:16:36
4 Ian Torrence; Flagstaff, AZ; 43; 11:18:20
5 Meredith Marx; Brookline, MA; 29; 11:20:54
6 Scott Raymond; Cambridge, MA; 35; 11:30:55
7 Debbie Livingston; Bolton, CT; 41; 11:32:38
8 Dan Burke; Amherst, NH; 34; 11:47:41
9 Andy Marx; Brookline, MA; 33; 11:56:58
10 Scott Slater; Guilford, CT; 38; 11:59:24
11 Brady Bertram; New Ipswich, NH; 35; 12:00:57
12 Christopher Haley; Medfield, MA; 60; 12:43:21
13 Chad Allen; Gorham, ME; 39; 12:45:19
14 Wendy Price; Jaffrey, NH; 48; 12:51:30
15 Jared Reini; Rindge, NH; 34; 13:01:06
16 Michael Barrett; Arlington, MA; 45; 13:28:14
17 Jonathan Barboza; Dartmouth, MA; 36; 13:38:30
18 Tammy Godin; North Grafton, MA; 52; 14:16:52
1 Michael King; Augusta, ME; 26; 8:48:24
2 David Herr; Canaan, VT; 51; 9:48:19
3 Gregory Lowe; Ipswich, MA; 52; 10:03:33
4 Curt Pandiscio; Granby, CT; 55; 11:32:21
5 Michele Maxson; Lebanon, NH; 33; 12:05:08
6 Elizabeth Masterjohn; Hudson, MA; 35; 12:26:37
7 Dane Leblanc; Littleton, MA; 58; 12:32:35
8 Reed Shea; Somerville, MA; 28; 12:52:10
9 Sara Hunt; Putnam, CT; 28; 13:37:04
10 Bill Andrews; New Bedford, MA; 50; 13:39:28
11 Matthew Christian; Center Ossipee, NH; 37; 13:39:30