From 50K races to 24-hour events, Massachusetts ultrarunners have logged some big miles out-of-state in the final weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
Plenty of praise was lauded upon Jim Walmsley for his performance at the 54th annual JFK 50 on Saturday, Nov. 9, in Boonsboro, Md., and understandably so. The 26-year-old from Flagstaff, Ariz., scorched the course at a 6:25-per-mile pace en route to victory in a record-setting time of 5:21:28. He won with a 31-minute cushion, and was one of just four runners to cover the course in less than six hours.
Overshadowed by Walmsley were a few Massachusetts residents who were among the fastest in the field of 806 runners. Billy Preston and Jeff Rixe both earned spots in the top 50 with sub-eight-hour efforts. Preston, 33, of Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., finished 27th overall in 7:13:49. In doing so, he displayed the foot speed that he previously showed during victories at the TARC Summer Classic 50K and TARC Fall Classic 50-miler in 2015. Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Rixe of Jamaica Plain, Mass., finished 42nd at the JFK 50-miler in 7:41:21.
Peter Christie, 46, and David Javaheri, 45 – both of Needham, Mass. – finished in less than 10 hours. Christie placed 177th in 9:15:09 and Javaheri was 259th in 9:45:08.
Eight other Massachusetts residents also finished the race. They were Sri Bodkhe (10:19:21); Dave Strassburg (10:24:16); Tara Strassburg (10:24:16); John Wozny (10:47:42); Craig Coffey (10:50:49); Michael Galvin (10:50:50); Andrew Bragg (11:08:03); and David Poirier (11:08:08).
New York Road Runners’ NYC 60K
Runners hammered out fast 60K performances in New York City’s Central Park at the New York Road Runners’ NYC 60K on Saturday, Nov. 19.
More than 350 runners – including six from Massachusetts – took on the paved 37.2-mile, multi-loop course. A 9 1/2-hour time limit was granted, and many reached the finish line with plenty of time to spare. None got there faster than 36-year-old Carlo Agostinetto of Mount Vernon, N.Y., who hammered out a victory in a blistering 3:57:41, more than 20 minutes ahead of runner-up Aaron Heath, 42, of White Plains, N.Y. The top 12 runners finished in less than five hours. First-place female Julie Kheyfets, 28, of New York, N.Y., crossed the finish line 20th overall in 5:13:55.
The top Bay State performer was 34-year-old Vanessa Picone. The resident of Boston, Mass., finished 72nd overall and was the 16th-place female in 5:58:58.
Jonathan Toto, 44, was the top Massachusetts male finisher. The Brookline resident finished 134th overall in 6:32:48. Jody Lupien, 33, of Billerica, Mass., was close behind Toto in 6:35:34, good for 140th place.
Additionally, Tara Jennings, 35, of Cambridge, Mass., finished in 7:44:37; Lee Dickey, 63, of Dracut, Mass., finished in 8:06:35; and Joan Cook, 59, of Somerville, Mass., finished in 9:16:43.
New Jersey Trail Series One Day
A frigid day at the Sussex County Fairgrounds wasn’t enough to deter runners from taking on 24-hour, 12-hour, 6-hour and 50K ultramarathon offerings Nov. 12-13 at the New Jersey Trail Series One Day running festival in Augusta, N.J.
A one-mile flat loop on pavement and crushed gravel provided an opportunity for runners to log big miles and fast times. A total of 12 runners surpassed the 100-mile mark in the 24-hour event, led by Richard Riopel, 43, of Morganville, N.J., with 142 miles, and Megan Alvarado, 28, of Springfield, Va., with 140 miles.
Alicia Eno of Shrewsbury, Mass., didn’t run for the full 24 hours, but she logged some of the fastest miles of any runner in that event. Eno, 39, hammered out a consistent and speedy 50 miles in 9:03:55. That earned her 15th-place female honors.
That Bay State was represented in the 12-hour event by Mei-Ling Smith of Boston, Mass. Smith, 38, was the fifth-place female finisher and 14th overall in the 12-hour event with 31 miles recorded.
No Massachusetts residents took part in the 50K or six-hour events.
Rhode Island 6-Hour Ultra
For eight years, the Rhode Island 6-Hour Ultra has beckoned runners to the Ocean State for the opportunity to crank out long, fast miles on a 2.7-mile paved loop. The final running of Rhode Island’s oldest active ultra took place Sunday, Nov. 13, in Warwick, R.I., and runners from throughout New England and beyond took advantage of their final opportunity take on the timed-based event.
The format was familiar to Padraig Mullins, in particular. The resident of Cambridge, Mass., has taken on numerous time-based events this year – and he has logged major miles at each of them. Mullins, 34, logged 100.16 miles at the Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn 24-Hour Ultra in Pennsylvania in May and finished 15th overall. Then, in July, he was the overall champion at the Self Transcendence 24-Hour Ultra in Ottawa, Ontario, with 125.7 miles. He also earned runner-up honors at the Sweltering Summer 8-Hour Ultra in Pittsfield, Mass., in August, logging 52.595 miles.
In Rhode Island, Mullins cruised through 45.917 miles in 5:47:40 and secured first-place overall honors. Paul Chekal, 45, of Providence, R.I., and Brian Butterfield, 37, of Westborough, Mass., finished second and third, respectively, with 43.216 miles recorded. Joseph Tetreault, 42, of Moosup, Conn., and Benjamin Simanski, 33, of Greenfield, Mass., rounded out the top five with 40.515 miles apiece.
Two other Massachusetts residents cracked the overall top 10 as Dewey Delisle, 31, of Marlborough and Shaun Daylor, 38, of Lakeville, both finished eighth and 10th, respectively, with 37.814 miles.
Jennifer McHale, 38, of Southington, Conn., also completed 37.814 miles and was the women’s champion and seventh overall. A trio from Massachusetts finished third, fourth, and fifth overall in the female standings with 35.113 miles apiece. They were Lori Mitchener, 40, of North Reading who was 14th overall (5:35:39); Lynn Poyant, 53, of New Bedford, who was 15th overall (5:47:38); and Sarah Norcott, 35, who was 16th overall (5:48:10).
Brian Tjersland, 49, of Dartmouth, Mass., also ran 35.113 miles and he finished 17th overall (5:49:03).
Numerous Massachusetts residents finished with 32.412 miles after completing enough loops to surpass a 50K within the six-hour time limit. They were Thomas O’Shea, 42, of Wilmington; Sandra Sheehy, 52, of North Attleboro; Jeremy Fuller, 35, of New Bedford; Ryan Powers, 35, of Fairhaven; Bruce Dube, 52, of Swansea; Bill Howard, 67, of Winchester; and Brian Jowder, 41, of Quincy.
A total of 82 runners took part in the event. Of that group, more than 72 ran beyond a marathon and all ran more than a half marathon.
The event’s official website stated that 2016 would be the last Rhode Island 6-Hour Ultra and Relay. All-time course records Patrick Moulton on the men’s side with 51.323 miles in 2015 and Michelle Gosselin on the women’s side with 45.917 miles in 2011.
John Schwartz-Moore has been a regular participant at 24-hour timed ultrarunning events in recent years. Included among his feats are three straight appearances at the 24-Hour Around the Lake event from 2013-2015 when he logged as many as 83.333 miles in one day, and the Croatan 24-Hour Ultra in North Carolina in 2014 when he covered 75.82 miles.
Schwartz-Moore, 38, of Dorchester, Mass., returned to the 24-hour race environment Saturday, Nov. 5, in Cedar Point, N.C., at the Tideland 24. The event took place on the Tideland National Recreation Trail, a 1.3779-mile flat loop on crushed gravel. Forty-four runners toed the starting line, and seven completed at least 100 miles during the allotted time.
Valmir Nunes, 52, of Rock Hill, S.C., covered the most ground with 130.88 miles. Schwartz-Moore placed 12th overall with 68.88 miles.
*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.