WESTWOOD, Mass. – When Marek Telus made his 50-mile debut in May at Pineland Farms in Maine, he went out too fast, hit the wall and bonked hard.
Telus finished that race – and posted a still speedy time of 7:47:38 – but he wasn’t satisfied. He tucked away the experience as a lesson learned, and he brought the knowledge gained with him to the starting line of his 100K debut at the TARC 100 on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Hale Reservation.
“I wanted to go out conservatively at first, just to make sure I’m not going to crash in the later miles. I didn’t want to do that again,” said Telus, 41, of Hopkinton, N.H. “If people were ahead of me, I didn’t worry about it much. I thought I’d just do my best, and it just happened to be my day today.”
Boy did it ever.
Telus studied the splits run by Jesse Veinotte when the Worcester, Mass., resident won the 100K in 2015, and Telus thought that provided a good guide to pace responsibly. Veinotte, it turned out, was back again for the 2016 race, and the two ran most of the first 22 miles together. They trailed Keith Eisenman of Lexington, Mass., Scot Dedeo of Belmont, Mass., and Austin Black of Pelham, N.H. for some of the time, but slowly moved toward the front of the pack. Eisenman eventually dropped, Black faded, and Veinotte started to fall behind. Telus picked off runners as the miles ticked by, and by the time he reached the aid station at mile 33.5, he had passed Dedeo and built a four-minute lead.
At that point, the race was on. Dedeo lurked within just a few minutes of Telus for the next 10 miles or so, and Veinotte tried to hang on before eventually dropping at mile 37.6. Telus’s conservative running during the early part of the race paid dividends late.
“It happened that I still had something left in the engine,” he said, “so I kind of took off from the (second-to-last aid station at mile 51.7) and started running faster because I didn’t want anybody to catch me. I didn’t have any idea how close they were.”
Nobody caught Telus. His lead grew considerably, and shortly after 9 p.m. he dashed out of the woods and to the finish line. His winning time of 11:17:00 was a solid 20 minutes ahead of the previous course record. A few minutes later, he celebrated with a dip in the lake.
“It got humid and I was really sweating. I wanted to grab water at an aid station (to pour on me), but I didn’t want to steal water from other people, so I thought I would just wait for the end to jump in the lake,” he said with a grin. “That was my motivator … ‘get to the lake!’ It felt a little bit cold, but it was very, very nice. It felt awesome.”
Dedeo joined Telus at the finish line nearly an hour later in second place as the 36-year-old finished in 12:11:29. Black, 25, was the third male to finish and placed fifth overall in 13:38:00.
While Telus ended up running away from the field, a tight race unfolded among the women.
Former Hudson, Mass., resident Liz Canty entered having rattled off a string of strong showings in trail ultras since moving to Madison, Ala., including second-place female honors at the Georgia Jewel 50-miler two weeks earlier. Meanwhile, the TARC 100K was the first ultra for Alexandra Brinkert, 30, of Medford, Mass., since she finished the Vermont 100-miler in July.
“When I first signed up I thought I’d have more time to train for it and would have a goal in mind,” Brinkert said. “But in the week preceding the race I had a consult about an elective surgery I’m going to have on my foot, and so it really just became that it was a nice October day to be out running.”
Similar to Telus, Brinkert planned to start conservatively.
“During the first 30 minutes of the race I was talking with another runner, Kyle (Northrop, of Bellingham, Mass.), who had signed up at the last minute, and that really solidified for me what we were both saying about the day in terms of running – that it was just about ‘go outside and enjoy running,’” Brinkert said.
Canty and Brinkert were within a minute of each other for the first 12 miles, running ninth and 10th overall in the field. Canty soon began picking off runners and opened up a small gap on Brinkert.
By the time Canty had completed the abbreviated first loop and then the first of two full loops of the course, she had climbed into third-place overall and built a 12-minute lead on Brinkert with 25 miles to go.
At that point, Brinkert was in sixth overall and didn’t have her sights set on catching the 25-year-old Canty. Brinkert was feeling good though, enjoying the surprisingly warm temperature and trail conditions that were dry for the moment. She began closing the gap without even knowing it until it was brought to her attention around mile 41.
“The 100-milers were really good at keeping track of who was in what place in the 100K, and they pointed it out to me,” she said.
Brinkert stayed in a comfortable rhythm, and she arrived at the 42.5-mile aid station moments after Canty. Brinkert was the first to depart the aid station, and by the time she reached the next aid station at mile 47 she was ahead by four minutes. At that point, Brinkert picked up her frequent pacer and running buddy, Annie Gagliardi, who paced Brinkert for the final 15 miles.
“Normally when I pick up my pacer my mood is going south and she keeps me from going too low, but this time we went the whole other direction and I just got more and more chipper and happy,” Brinkert said of what turned out to be an enjoyable and speedy final miles.
Brinkert raced out of the woods and across the finish line in 12:42:13, good for third overall and first-place female honors in a women’s course-record time. Canty was the second female finisher and fourth overall in 13:07:17.
Additional finishers trickled in during the next few hours as spurts of sprinkles fell and slicked the course. Laurent Homier of Val-David Quebec; Drew Jett of Monson, Mass.; Thomas Ellis of Stratham, N.H.; Matt Barrows of Norfolk, Mass.; and Kyle Northrop of Bellingham, Mass., all secured spots in the top 10.
Finally, at about 4:35 a.m., a steady rain began to fall and didn’t let up until well after the event was complete. A handful of runners endured the rain for at least a few minutes – if not numerous hours. Marc Eaton of Stoneham, Mass.; Colleen Smith of Nashua, N.H.; Amanda Ricciardi of Wallingford, Conn.; Jonathan Barboza of Dartmouth, Mass.; and Stephan Vogel of Doha, Qatar, all persevered through the cold, wet night and reached the finish line.
Of the 26 runners who started, 18 finished.
TARC 100 – 100-KILOMETER RACE
Place, Name, Age, City, State, Time
1 Marek Telus, 41; Hopkinton, NH; 11:17:00
2 Scot Dedeo, 36; Belmont, MA; 12:11:29
3 Alexandra Brinkert, 30; Medford, MA; 12:42:13
4 Liz Canty, 25; Madison, AL; 13:07:17
5 Austin Black, 25; Pelham, NH; 13:38:00
6 Laurent Homier, 51; Val-David, QC; 14:47:17
7 Drew Jett, 30; Monson, MA; 14:52:35
8 Thomas Ellis, 50; Stratham, NH; 15:21:23
9 Matt Barrows, 41; Norfolk, MA; 16:34:38
10 Kyle Northrop, 23; Bellingham, MA; 16:46:27
11 Johnny Bristol, 28; Salem, MA; 17:12:25
12 Chris Markoski, 42; Newtonville, MA; 17:43:51
13 Peter Willis, 46; Charlestown, RI; 17:49:30
14 Marc Eaton, 48; Stoneham, MA; 18:44:16
15 Colleen Smith, 33; Nashua, NH; 18:48:29
16 Amanda Ricciardi, 26; Wallingford, CT; 20:53:38
17 Jonathan Barboza, 37; Dartmouth, MA; 23:36:12
18 Stephan Vogel, 58; Doha, QAT; 26:19:08