A pair of newcomers to the TARC Summer Classic delivered an electrifying battle for the men’s 40-mile victory while a race veteran upped her distance and dominated the women’s field on Saturday, Aug. 12, at Noon Hill Reservation in Medfield, Mass.
Neither Thomas Gennaro of Boston, Mass., nor Michael Pulli of Medford, Mass., had ever toed the starting line at the Summer Classic, either at the 40-mile or 50K distances prior to Saturday, but by the time they crossed the finish line their place in the race’s history books was secure. For nearly all four 10-mile loops of the course they were within a few strides of each other, separated by just seconds for a majority of the day. Pulli gained a little bit of separation during the third loop and had a nearly two-minute lead through 30 miles. It wasn’t enough, however, as Gennaro closed and ultimately overtook Pulli for the victory.
By pushing each other throughout, they put on an entertaining race and also rewrote the record books. Both broke the previous course record of 6:31:26 that Salem, Mass., resident William Jackson set in 2016.
Gennaro, 31, raised the bar for the course with his winning time of 6:22:55, while the 40-year-old Pulli logged the second-fastest time ever on the course with his time of 6:24:29.
Another Summer Classic newcomer, 37-year-old Scott DeDeo of Belmont, Mass., rounded out the men’s podium. He spent the first half of the race in sixth place, but his consistent pacing paid off as he climbed to a third-place finish in 7:02:53.
Rounding out the men’s top five were two more Summer Classic newcomers, 34-year-old Charn McAllister of Tallahassee, Fla., and 29-year-old Christopher Knighton of Boston, Mass. McAllister finished in 7:19:42 followed by Knighton in 7:32:36.
While the front of the men’s pack was loaded with fresh faces, the women’s champion is well-known at the Summer Classic. Deirdre Lowe raced the Summer Classic in both 2015 and 2016 at the 50K distance. She won both times.
Lowe’s third time racing the Summer Classic concluded with a familiar result, albeit at a different distance. The 38-year-old resident of Salem, Mass., bumped up to the 40-mile distance for 2017, and it was perhaps her finest performance yet on the trails of Noon Hill Reservation. Not only did Lowe earn the victory in 7:16:05 – a full hour ahead of the second-place female finisher – she also nearly took down the course record in the process. She missed Lisa Rising’s ladies course standard by less than three minutes.
Lowe had a 14-minute lead on the ladies’ field after 10 miles, so she spent most of her day tracking down the men. She was eighth overall after one loop, but she gradually climbed through the field and finished fourth overall, trailing only the trio of men who made up the podium. In fact, her time was the eighth-fastest of any runner – male or female – in the three years the 40-miler has been offered.
Jasmine Daigle, 31, of Peru, Maine, was the second-place female finisher and eighth overall finisher in 8:16:33. Tammy Volock, 43, of Portland, Maine, rounded out the women’s podium in 8:53:50.
Maine’s Langevin, Barclay Cruise to 50K Victories
While the 40-mile victories were secured by Massachusetts residents, the men’s and women’s 50K wins went to runners from Maine.
Beau Langevin of Biddeford and Emma Barclay of Falmouth delivered the top men’s and women’s performances of the day – as well as the second-best marks in the six-year history of the Summer Classic 50K.
Langevin, 37, entered the race having already enjoyed a dynamite 2017. He finished third overall at the TARC Spring Classic in April, won the inaugural Riverlands 100-miler in May, and delivered a top-10 performance at the Vermont 100 in July. On Saturday, Langevin didn’t show any signs of lingering fatigue from his two recent 100-milers as he cruised to the overall victory in 4:34:32. Langevin’s time was almost exactly one hour faster than when he last ran the race. In 2014, Langevin finished the Summer Classic 50K in 5:34:31.
Langevin’s closest competition came from 24-year-old Davis Cutter of Needham, Mass. Cutter – who notably won the 50-mile race at last year’s TARC 100 distance running festival – finished the Summer Classic second overall in 4:48:56. Brad Reed, 33, of Hadley, Mass., finished third in 5:01:02.
Barclay’s victory didn’t look nearly as certain as Langevin’s early. Erin Cooper, 35, of Weymouth, Mass., was the first female to complete the loop one, and she rolled through the 10-mile mark three minutes ahead of Barclay. The roles were reversed during loop two, however. Barclay, 42, picked up the pace during the second loop, completely erased the deficit and built a nearly 2 1/2-minute lead after 20 miles. She continued to motor away from there, and her lead wasn’t threatened during her final trip around the course.
Barclay’s winning time of 5:11:32 was more than 10 minutes faster than runner-up Cooper who finished in 5:21:57. Third and fourth went to 25-year-olds Katie Kiracofe and Rachel Rudder, both of Brookline, Mass. They ran the entire race together, and Kiracofe finished third in 5:30:09, two seconds ahead of fourth-place Rudder.
Joining the top three men and top four women in the overall top 10 were 38-year-old Jason Cousins of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 5:15:09; 24-year-old Benjamin Silberman of Lexington, Mass., in 5:33:20; and 25-year-old Matt Elam of Allston, Mass., in 5:34:34.
Twenty-four runners completed the 40-mile race, and 47 runners finished the 50K.