From Brian Rusiecki and Will Swenson throwing down top-10 finishes at UROC in Virginia, to Aaron Keene earning a Western States qualifier at Quicksilver in California, to the inaugural 100-miler in Maine, April 13-14 was a busy weekend for Massachusetts ultrarunners taking on out-of-state trails. In addition, we also tracked down results from a few races from the prior weekend, including the Big A 50K in Maine where Patrick Caron added another course record to his resume. In all, eight races are captured in this week’s roundup.
Ultra Race of Champions (UROC)
The seventh running of the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100K returned to the state where it all began. Launched in 2011 at Virginia’s Wintergreen Resort, the event enjoyed stints in Colorado and California before returning to the East Coast on Saturday, May 13, at Skylark Nature Preserve in Skylark, Va.
By returning to the east, UROC enticed some of the West Coast’s big names to take on the more burly, technical trails of the east that are much tougher to find in the west. That also created the opportunity for East Coast runners to see where they stack up with some of the west’s best.
Two runners from Massachusetts were among those who held their own just fine and battled to top-10 finishes.
Chris Mocko entered as the biggest name in the field, and the 31-year-old from Mill Valley, Calif., performed true to his reputation. The winner of the Behind the Rocks Ultra 50-miler and Marin Ultra Challenge 50-miler already this year, Mocko led UROC wire to wire with a dominating performance on the mixture of singletrack trails and roads. He was the lone runner to finish in less than nine hours, dipping just under in 8:56:38. Fellow Mill Valley resident Jorge Maravilla, 39, spent the day holding down second place en route to a finishing time of 9:16:55.
While the Mill Valley boys broke free early, Massachusetts residents Brian Rusiecki and Will Swenson spent the day in hot pursuit.
Rusiecki, 38, of South Deerfield, stuck with the larger pack during the first few miles before quickly surging into the top 10. He jostled between third and sixth place for much of the race, and he rolled through mile 40 in fifth. From there, Rusiecki tracked down runners who’d gone out too fast and begun to fall apart, and he charged into third place. He closed the gap on Maravilla by a few minutes but was unable to hunt him down and finished a strong third in 9:27:15.
While Rusiecki climbed to third, Swenson’s race unfolded in similar fashion albeit a bit further back. The 45-year-old from Andover, Mass., crafted a consistent performance and steadily climbed his way through the pack and into the top 10. Swenson spent the early miles running in the middle of the pack, but he climbed into 10th place by mile 18. From there, he held his ground, trading places with other runners while standing firm in the top 10. He gradually picked off competitors during the final 18 miles and climbed to a seventh-place overall finish in 11:24:10. He was the sixth-place male finisher, 15 minutes behind women’s champion and sixth-place overall Amanda Basham, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah, who finished in 11:09:13.
Of the 78 runners who started the 63.5-mile race, 58 finished within the 20-hour time limit. Amy Rusiecki, 37, of South Deerfield, Mass., and Seng-Lai Tan, 45, of Sudbury, Mass., both took part in the race but did not finish.
No Massachusetts residents were among the 54 finishers of the 50K race.
Maine’s inaugural 100-mile trail ultramarathon, the Riverlands 100, took place May 13-14 at Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, Maine, with 38 runners toeing the starting line for five out-and-back laps on an all-terrain vehicle path through the park. Eight Bay State residents were among the field who took part in the race, and seven were among the 27 finishers.
The home state’s residents staked claim to the top spots as a Maine residents swept the top three overall places. Biddeford’s Beau Langevin, 37, cruised to the victory in 17:58:00, while Hope’s Jeremy Howard, 40, finished 54 minutes later in second place. Brendan Gilpatrick, 33, of Waterville, Maine, rounded out the top three in 20:02:00. The first-place female, 36-year-old Laura Perry of Orleans, Ontario, Canada, placed fourth overall in 21:18:00.
The top six runners finished in less than 24 hours.
The seven Massachusetts finishers were among the first eight to cross the finish line after the 24-hour mark passed. The first was 33-year-old Medford resident Michael McDuffie. The co-race director of the TARC Spring Classic, McDuffie finished seventh overall at Riverlands in 24:56:00.
The trio of New Bedford’s Jeremy Fuller, Dartmouth’s Brian Tjersland, and New Bedford’s Steve Drayton rounded out the top 10. Fuller, 35, placed eighth in 25:16:00; Tjersland, 50, was ninth in 25:49:00; and Drayton, 52, was 10th in 26:17. Additionally, Ryan Powers, 36, of Fairhaven, placed 11th in 26:38:00; Nate Combs, 56, of Andover, was 13th in 27:47; and James Gawle, 65, of Webster, finished 14th in 27:59:00.
Runners had 32 hours to complete the race.
Dirty German Endurance Fest
A duo from Littleton, Mass., took on the 50-mile race at the Dirty German Endurance Fest on Saturday, May 13, in Philadelphia, Pa., and they crossed the start and finish lines together.
Ethan Rambacher and Mark Rambacher, both of Littleton, placed 19th and 20th overall in a race where 75 runners started and 56 finished. Ethan Rambacher crossed the finish line in 9:58:31 and Mark Rambacher was a step behind in 9:58:32.
Michael Daigeaun of Philadelphia, Pa., dominated the race. His winning time of 6:52:14 was more than 90 minutes ahead of the second-place runner.
The Endurance Fest also included a 50K race that featured 188 starters and 153 finishers. None were from Massachusetts.
Aaron Keene earned his qualifier for the Western States lottery when he completed the 33rd annual Quicksilver 100K on Saturday, May 13, in San Jose, Calif.
Runners had 17 hours to finish the race – 16 to qualify for the Western States Endurance Run lottery – by successfully navigating the 62-mile course and its 13,000 feet of vertical gain on the trails of Almaden Quicksilver Park.
Keene, 37, of Easthampton, Mass., finished 52nd overall in 13:35:29, well under the 17-hour time limit. A total of 158 runners completed the race. Just one finished in less than 10 hours. That was Dominick Layfield, 45, of Los Angeles, Calif., who secured the overall victory in 9:48:30.
Additionally, the event offered a 50K distance although no Massachusetts residents were among the 147 finishers of that race.
Big A 50K
Fifty runners toed the starting line of the Big A 50K and took on three loops of all-terrain vehicle and singletrack trails of the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Area on Saturday, May 6, in York, Maine. Nineteen of those runners completed the race, including the fastest male and female runners who both hailed from Massachusetts.
Patrick Caron of Needham, Mass., and Kristen Smith of Salem, Mass., both put together strong showings and earned victories.
Caron, 20, led wire-to-wire. He built a four-minute lead on Teddy Lyman, 22, of Beverly, Mass., during the first loop and then quickly opened a sizeable lead en route to the overall victory and a new course-record of 4:48. Lyman finished a distant second in 5:37.
Meanwhile, Smith, 31, posted nearly even splits on all three loops. She was four minutes off the women’s lead after one loop, finishing in 1:59. She moved into the front during the second loop as she covered the course again in 1:58 while running alongside fellow Salem resident William Jackson, 35. Smith and Jackson stuck together again in loop three – completing it in 2:02 – and crossed the finish line together tied for third overall in 6:00. Greg Esbitt, 40, of Salem, Mass., finished fifth in 6:19.
Brett Stearns, 25, of Cambridge, Mass., earned a top-10 finish as he placed seventh overall in 6:23.
Other Massachusetts finishers included Littleton resident Dane LeBlanc, 59, in 7:58; Waban resident Dima Feinhaus, 54, and Newton resident Karen Ringheiser, 53, in 8:38; and Ayer resident Neil Lacey, 60, in 9:15.
Rock the Ridge 50
More than 350 runners took to the hilly but smooth carriage roads of the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park for the fifth annual Rock the Ridge 50-miler on Saturday, May 6, in Gardiner, N.Y.
Participants had 24 hours to run or walk the length of the course. Of the 353 starters, 192 went the full distance.
Some were speedy, such as 34-year-old Cambridge, Mass., resident Christopher Schmitt who hammered out a strong performance in 8:40:17. Schmitt’s time was the fourth-fastest of anybody, and a half-hour out of landing in the top three. Dylan Armajani, 32, of New York, N.Y., completed the course the fastest, winning in 7:15:33. Women’s champion Karen Benway, 45, was the second-fastest in the field as the Williston, Vt., resident cruised through the finish line in 7:59:39.
Five other Massachusetts residents also finished within the time limit. South Hadley resident Sarah Bousquet, 34, placed 51st overall in 11:02:01. Additionally, Spencer resident Marie Gryszowka, 32, finished in 13:47:34; North Grafton resident David Ayers, 31, finished in 13:50:24; Boston resident Brendan McKee, 33, finished in 16:13:25; and Ware resident Charlene Gryszowka, 54, finished in 20:30:58.
TNFEC – Bear Mountain
The North Face Endurance Challenge rolled into New York’s Bear Mountain State Park for the 10th straight year on Saturday, May 13, and around 2,000 runners took to the dirt and rock-filled singletrack trails along the Hudson River and Catskill Mountain foothills to compete in a variety of distances including 50-mile and 50K ultramarathons.
Padraig Mullins of Cambridge, Mass., was the local resident most in the hunt during the 50-mile race. Mullins, 35, of Cambridge, finished 27th out of 255 in 9:27:11. Mothieu Blanchard, 29, of Montrael, Canada, was the overall winner in 7:32:35, while women’s champion Michaux, 32, of Rougemont, Canada, placed 12th overall in 8:51:37.
Ashley Falls resident John Clouser, 33, joined Mullins in the top 50, placing 43rd in 10:04:42.
Four other Massachusetts residents finished in the top half of the field. Pavol Cvik, 31, of Boston was 53rd in 10:21:03; Christopher Ollari, 47, of Longmeadow, was 65th in 10:38:45; Steven Snook, 57, of Shelburne Falls, was 76th in 10:51:12; and Ermanno Modonesi, 36, of Boston finished 82nd in 10:59:05.
Additionally, 47-year-old Charles Joyal of Agawam finished in 12:32:56; 29-year-old Samuel Borchard of North Andover finished in 12:43:22; 30-year-old Philip Pietrangelo of Brookline finished in 13:01:55; and 40-year-old Kelly Adams of Hingham finished in 13:02:01.
Meanwhile, more than 400 runners completed the 50K race, including one local resident who cracked the top 20 overall. Ari Ofsevit, 32, of Cambridge, delivered a strong race and finished 20th overall in 5:10:32, just five seconds behind women’s champion Pilvi Muschitiello, 26, of New York, NY. Another New Yorker, 42-year-old Daniel Gay, won the 50K in 4:17:20.
Ten other Bay State residents joined Ofsevit at the finish line, including Bobby O’Donnell, 23, of Halifax (6:13:21); Peter MacEwen, 52, of Beverly (6:27:30); Ryan Weil, 18, of Yarmouth Port (6:39:40); Robert Terry, 52, of Boston (7:09:17); Cynthia Schwartz, 47, of Lenox (7:55:22); and Tony Schwartz, 48, of Lenox (7:57:17). Other local finishers were 35-year-old Somerville resident Patrick Burke (8:06:12); 32-year-old Boston resident Hilary Donahue (8:06:13); and 54-year-old Cambridge resident Peter Thorne (8:58:37).
Runners were greeted with rain and muddy trails at the 2017 Peak Ultra races on Saturday, May 6, in Pittsfield, Vt., but the sloppy conditions didn’t prevent runners from completing the 50-mile and 30-mile ultra distances.
Attleboro resident Bob Warren, 56, was one of 19 runners to complete the 50-mile race, and he was the only one from Massachusetts to do so. Warren placed 14th in 13:14:34. Martin Parent, 32, of Quebec, Canada, won in 8:22:15 and was one of just three runners to finish in less than 10 hours.
Meanwhile, 64 runners completed the 30-mile race including 29-year-old Massachusetts resident Lindsay Kobayashi who was the first-place female and 11th overall in 6:13:29. The top Bay State male runner was 49-year-old Paul Hyry-Dermith who finished fourth overall in 5:45:49, just 15 seconds out of the top three. Sylvain Gelinas, 44, of Quebec, Canada, won in 5:03:27.
Other Massachusetts residents who finished the 30-mile race were Brandon Finn (6:13:30); Brett Milne (6:13:37); Eric Klose (6:54:53); Carly Tucker (7:37:10); Ed Amer (7:45:57); Rick Bodmer (7:49:51); Kurian Thomas (7:50:38); Kristen Nowack (8:07:23); and Greg McEacher (8:21:10).
*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.