The Rusieckis returned to Virginia and posted runner-up finishes, and Massachusetts ultrarunners took on trails in Washington, Maryland and Utah. All are highlighted in this week’s look at out-of-state racing.
Terrapin Mountain 50K
Although Massachusetts is home and some of his most dominant trail-racing performances have taken place in nearby Vermont, Virginia has also been mighty good to Brian Rusiecki.
The 38-year-old from South Deerfield, Mass., has raced extensively in the Old Dominion State throughout the past decade, most notably as a regular at the Mountain Masochist 50-miler, a multi-time winner of the Massanutten 100-miler and Bull Run Run 50-miler, the 2015 champion of the Grindstone 100-miler, and the 2016 winner of the Hellgate 100K.
Rusiecki returned to Virginia on Saturday, March 18, to take on the 10th annual Terrapin Mountain 50K for the first time, and he made his presence felt with another podium finish.
Matthew Thompson, 36, of Crozet, Va., led the race from wire to wire and earned the victory in 4:28:06. Thompson was a familiar face as he and Rusiecki faced off at the 2016 Mountain Masochist 50-miler where Rusiecki finished second and Thompson placed third. This time, Thompson came out ahead, but Rusiecki delivered a steady early-season performance. After running the first few miles in fifth place, he steadily picked off other runners and moved into second place around mile 20. Ultimately, Rusiecki finished in 4:35:01, eight minutes ahead of third-place runner Sam Dangc, 29, of Lynchburg, Va., who finished in 4:43:00.
The top eight runners finished in less than five hours.
Massachusetts was represented by two runners at the race; both were Rusiecki’s. Brian’s wife, Amy Rusiecki, is also a regular on the Virginia racing scene – she also won the 2015 Grindstone 100-miler, owns second- and fourth-place finishes at Massanutten, and has delivered numerous strong performances at Mountain Masochist – and she also made her Terrapin Mountain debut.
Rusiecki finished 25th overall and was the second-place female finisher in 5:35:42. The top female finisher, 34-year-old Krista Offield of Lynchburg, Va., placed 19thoverall in 5:23:24. Rusiecki held off the third-place female finisher, 41-year-old Annie Stanley of Richmond, Va., by less than four minutes.
A total of 193 runners finished within the nine-hour time limit.
Badger Mountain Challenge 50M
Seng-Lai Tan’s West Coast adventure included a second straight weekend of racing the trails. A week after running the Chuckanut 50K in Bellingham, Wash., the 45-year-old resident of Sudbury, Mass., stayed in the Evergreen State to take part in the Badger Mountain Challenge on Friday, March 24, in Richland, Wash.
The endurance festival offered 100-mile, 50-mile and 50K ultramarathon offerings, and Tan was one of 71 runners who took part in the 50-miler. Tan finished 46thoverall in 12:30:29. Four runners finished in less than eight hours, led by 31-year-old Mark Hammond of Salt Lake City, Utah, who was the event champion in 7:34:50 – just 31 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The final runners completed the course in a little more than 18 1/2 hours.
Tan’s racing will keep him out west for the near future. He is entered in the Lost Boys 50-miler on April 29 in Borrego Springs, Calif.
One of the oldest trail ultras in the east has been the site of solid results for Niveen Ismail.
The resident of Florence, Mass., first raced the HAT Run 50K in 2009 as a 26-year-old and was the 16th-place female in 5:52:30. A year ago, she returned to the race and was the 26th overall female in 6:06:59.
She returned to the 29th annual event on Saturday, March 25, at Susquehanna State Park in Havre de Grace, Md., and recorded her best performance yet. On a day where the temperatures soared into the 70s, the 34-year-old cruised along the singletrack trails and dirt roads and crossed the finish line as the 14th-place female in 5:50:24. She was 66th overall out of 334 finishers and 431 starters.
Ismail will look to build off the strong performance on April 22 at the TARC Spring Classic 50K.
She wasn’t the lone Bay State resident to take on the Hat Run. Jeff Downin, 46, of Hudson, Mass., also raced the ultra and finished in 8:00:21.
An international runner, 34-year-old Stefano Ruzza of Busto Arsizio, Italy, won the race in 4:01:53. The top female finisher, 41-year-old Justyna Wilson of Bensalem, Pa., finished 13th overall in 4:51:39.
Monument Valley 50
Desert races aren’t an option in Massachusetts, but six Bay State ultrarunners found one out west on Saturday, March 25, at Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley National Park in Utah. The Monument Valley 50 offered both 50-mile and 50K distance options in the scenic, completely exposed park where dirt roads and sandy single- and doubletrack wound runners through a variety of loops and one major 1,500-foot climb around mile 17 of both distances.
A trio of Massachusetts residents – James Diggins of Norwell, Kelly Adams of Hingham, and Quang Le of Dorchester – took on the 50-mile race. Diggins, 48, finished the fastest, placing 68th out of 196 in 11:02:08. Adams, 40, finished in 11:41:39, and the 42-year-old Le completed the course nine minutes later in 11:50:44.
Michael Nanaszko, 35, of Surprise, Ariz., was the lone sub-eight-hour finisher in 7:28:23, and he won with a 63-minute cushion. Annie Weiss, 32, of Milwaukee, Wisc., was the top female finisher and seventh overall in 8:48:30.
Meanwhile, three more Massachusetts residents – Heather Ichord of Brookline, James McQuivey of Needham, and Kevin Quinlan of Uxbridge – raced the 50K. Ichord, 33, finished in 8:06:05; McQuivey, 47, finished in 8:46:38; and Quinlan, 43, finished in 8:57:55.
Andrew Combs, 32, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the 50K champion in 4:19:11. Natasha Shipman, 37, of Swannanoa, N.C., was the top female finisher, third overall and 12 seconds out of second place in 4:50:34.
*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.