This week’s roundup looks back at the speedy track performances of Greg Soutiea and Padraig Mullins at Desert Solstice, as well as the Devil Dog 100-miler and the invitation-only Ancient Oaks race in Florida.
Desert Solstice Track Invitational
Not just anybody can take part in the Desert Solstice Track Invitational. Runners must apply for entry into the exclusive, invitation-only or qualification-only event that took place Dec. 10-11 on the track at Central High School in Phoenix, Ariz.
The event, which welcomed 25 entrants, served as a qualifier for the USA 24-Hour National Team to compete in the world championships. Entrants in the 24-hour event also earned a 100-mile ranking if they achieved at least that distance. Massachusetts residents Greg Soutiea of Quincy and Padraig Mullins of Cambridge were among the elite field selected to compete, and both made the Bay State’s presence felt.
Both Soutiea and Mullins earned placements in both the 100-mile and 24-hour events by surpassing the century mark. Soutiea compiled 143.39 miles within the 24-hour time frame, and Mullins logged 100.41 miles.
In the 24-hour competition, Soutiea finished fourth overall and nabbed third-place male honors for his mileage total. Courtney Dauwalter, 31, of Golden, Colo., was the overall champion with 147.49 total miles. Bob Hearn, 51, of Portola Valley, Calif., was second overall and the first-place male with 144.71 miles. John Cash, 43, of Washington, Mo., was third overall and the second-place male with 143.79 total miles – less than a half-mile more than Soutiea. Mullins finished 17th overall in the 24-hour competition.
Additionally, the 100-mile competition was decided based on who reached that mileage landmark the fastest. Eighteen runners surpassed the century mark, with 35-year-old Gina Slaby of Seabeck, Wash., getting there first in 13:45:49, followed by Dauwalter in 15:08:42. The first-place male and third overall was Jay Aldous, 55, of Brighton, Utah, in 15:37:46. Soutiea was the second-place male and fourth overall to reach 100 miles in 16:23:48. Close behind him was Mullins who was the third-place male and fifth to reach 100 miles in 16:33:57.
Mullins previously took part in Desert Solstice in 2013 when he finished seventh overall in the 100-mile event (17:08:53) and 10th overall in the 24-hour event (100.165 miles).
Devil Dog 100
The inaugural running of the Devil Dog 100-mile and 100K trail ultras took place Dec. 17-18 at Prince William Forest in Triangle, Va., and challenged runners with a multi-loop course full of singletrack trail and around 10,000 feet of vertical gain.
Temperatures in the 20s and 30s mixed with rain and wind to create difficult conditions that took a toll on runners in both distances.
Just 41 of the 105 starters in the 100-mile race finished within the 32-hour time limit. Two of those finishers were Jeremy Fuller of New Bedford, Mass., and Brian Tjersland of Dartmouth, Mass. Fuller, 35, and Tjersland, 49, stuck together throughout the race and were never more than a few minutes apart. They finished 33rd and 34th overall and crossed the finish line just four seconds apart, Fuller in 30:39:44 and Tjersland 30:39:48.
Both Lynn Poyant, 53, of New Bedford, and Christopher Acree, 27, of Somerville, Mass., started the race but were unable to complete the course.
Bradley Revenis, 30, of Baltimore, Md., dominated the race with a winning time of 17:35:06, more than three hours ahead of the runner-up. Just five runners finished in less than 24 hours.
In the 100K race, 99 runners started and 61 finished within the 20-hour time limit. Brenda Morris, 50, of Worcester, Mass., was among those who took on the 100K but didn’t finish.
Fifty-five runners – 30 men and 25 women – toed the starting line for the Ancient Oaks Ultra Dec. 19-20 in Titusville, Fla. The free, invitation-only event took place on a 3.46-mile loop course through the Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary.
Greg Stone of Falmouth, Mass., was among those who took on the event, which held its first running in 1999. Stone, 58, completed 13 laps of the course for 44.98 miles in 9:18:55. Twelve men and nine women completed 100.34 miles within the 32-hour time limit. Dennis Fabiszak, 46, got it done the fastest with a time of 22:46:42.
*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.