MassUltra Roundup: Cayuga Trails and Worlds End

Massachusetts ultrarunners made their presence felt at the USATF 50-Mile Championships at Cayuga Trails in New York as two men and three women finished in the top 10 in their respective divisions. Meanwhile, Tess Harvey tackled a rugged 50K in Pennsylvania at Worlds End State Park.

There were at least 30 ultramarathons around the United States on June 3-4, but it was a light weekend of racing for runners from the Bay State with two in-state races on the horizon. The inaugural North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler and 50K races take place Saturday, June 10, at Wachusett Mountain, followed by the Berkshire Ultrarunning Community for Service’s annual Vegan Power 50K on June 17 in Pittsfield.

Cayuga Trails 50-Miler

Fast times were to be expected at the Cayuga Trails 50-miler as the fifth-annual event served as the USATF 50-Mile Championships on Saturday, June 3, at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, N.Y.

Included among the fastest runners in the field was a strong contingent of Massachusetts ultrarunners who made quick work of the double-out-and-back course despite enduring at least a dozen water crossings and eight big climbs amassing around 9,000 feet of vertical gain.

A pair of Massachusetts men battled to top-10 overall finishes, led by South Deerfield’s Brian Rusiecki. Taking part in his final tune-up race before competing at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run later this month, the 38-year-old Rusiecki cruised to a second-place overall finish in 7:40:48. Only 29-year-old Chris Raulli of Manlius, N.Y., was faster. Raulli was the overall champion as well as USATF champion in 7:32:03. Rusiecki did not compete in the USATF division. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Michael Owen of Pomeroy, Ohio, finished less than a minute behind Rusiecki in third place.

Joining Rusiecki in the top 10 was 41-year-old Westborough resident Ben Nephew who finished seventh overall – sixth in the USATF standings – in 8:07:52.

While the men’s field was packed with speed at the front, so was the women’s field – and Massachusetts women were a big reason for it. Three finished among the top seven overall ladies – and all were in the top five of the USATF standings. Kelsey Allen, Kehr Davis and Samantha LeBlanc all delivered strong showings and earned their places among the top performers.

Allen, 33, of Wendell, Mass., came within 10 minutes of earning a spot on the podium for the overall results as she was the fourth female finisher and 26th overall in 9:31:12. Her performance among USATF competitors was podium worthy, however, as she earned third place in the USATF results.

Allen’s performance was notable not just because she placed high, but also because she was nearly an hour faster than in 2016 when she was the 15th overall female finisher and 65th overall in 10:24:35.

Davis of Great Barrington, Mass., earned sixth-place overall female honors for the second straight year and moved up one spot from 33rd overall in 2016 to 32nd overall this year. Davis, 40, also was the fourth-place female finisher in the USATF results with her time of 9:49:34.

Not far behind Davis was LeBlanc. The 28-year-old resident of Woburn, Mass., selected Cayuga Trails as her debut 50-miler, and she made it a memorable day by finishing in less than 10 hours and landing among the top 10 women. She was the seventh female finisher and 37th overall in 9:56:11. LeBlanc’s performance was good for fifth in the USATF results.

Dani Filipek, 25, of Rochester Hills, Mich., was the first-place female, 17th overall finisher, and USATF women’s champion in 9:03:19. Second-place female Karen Holland, 30, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was 10 minutes behind and 19th overall in 9:13:58. USATF women’s runner-up (21st overall) and third overall female Sabrina Little, 30, of Robinson, Texas, finished in 9:21:28.

Runners had 15 hours to complete the race, and 163 did so. That included 26-year-old Boston, Mass., resident Michael Schmitt who finished in 13:26:57, and 42-year-old Granby, Mass., resident Steven Pelletier who finished in 13:59:50.

Worlds End Ultramarathon

Tess Harvey traveled to Pennsylvania to take on her toughest 50K yet when she raced the Worlds End Ultramarathon 50K on Saturday, June 3, at Worlds End State Park in Forksville, Pa.

The rugged, remote trail ultra also includes a 100K race, and the 50K covers most of the first half of that course. From rock scrambling and steep climbs, to descending boulder fields and tip-toeing across narrow bridges, the course and its 5,800 feet of vertical gain are a stout challenge.

Harvey, a 27-year-old resident of Brighton, Mass., raced to 46th place overall out of 115 finishers within the 12-hour time limit. Her time of 7:53:21 earned her 13th-place female honors.

First-place female Lori Kingsley, 51, of Wysox, Pa., finished fourth overall in 6:07:21. Meanwhile, 37-year-old Michael Daigeaun of Philadelphia, Pa., was the overall winner in 5:12:48. Only two runners completed the 50K in less than six hours.

Additionally, 88 runners completed the event’s 100K race within the 19-hour time limit. The 100K measures nearly 64 miles and includes more than 12,000 feet of gain. David Lantz, 28, of Leola, Pa., improved on his third-place finish in 2016 by tying with 38-year-old Adam Russell of Rome, Pa., for the victory in 11:45:34. Lantz’s brother, 2016 champion Jonathan Lantz, 32, of New Holland, Pa., finished third in 11:51:42. New Englander Kristina Folcik, 39, of Tamworth, N.H., was the women’s champion and 10th overall in a women’s course-record time of 13:29:42. No Massachusetts residents were among the 100K finishers.

*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.

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