MassUltra Roundup: Anchor Down, Killington, Twisted Branch, Crotched Mountain, and Squamish

Round two of this week’s roundup leans heavily on the northeast with races in Rhode Island, Vermont, New York and New Hampshire before heading out west to British Columbia where Massachusetts ultrarunners took on the scenic and tough trails of Squamish.

Anchor Down Ultra

Thunderstorms took their toll on runners at the Anchor Down Ultras Aug. 18-19 in Bristol, R.I., and many had their quest to log major miles at the 6/12/24-hour event wash our earlier than planned. Still, nine of the 24-hour runners persevered long enough on the 2.45-mile loop course to surpass the century mark.

Chris Cappellini of Norton, Mass., led all runners as he circled the loop 47 times and recorded 115.15 miles in 23:24:44. Brandyn Lewis of Canterbury, N.H., was Cappellini’s closest competitor, finishing with 43 loops for 105.35 miles. Paul Chekal of Providence, R.I., rounded out the top three with 42 loops for 102.90 miles.

Included among the runners who logged 100-mile finishes were Massachusetts residents Scott Defusco of Beverly and Ryan Medeiros of Fall River. Both circled the course 41 times and completed 100.45 miles.

In addition to the nine runners who completed 100-plus miles, 59 more runners took part in the 24-hour race. That included women’s champion Nikki Perry of Simsbury, Conn., who logged 88.20 miles and finished 10th overall.

John Brown of Northbridge, Mass., and Steve Drayton of New Bedford, Mass., finished a few loops behind Perry and placed 11th and 12th overall with 80.85 miles. Big mileage days were also turned in by Jose Rivera of Webster, Mass., who completed 78.40 miles; Benjamin Simanski of Greenfield, Mass., and Karen Giroux of Salem, Mass., who both ran 73.50 miles; and Celia Jessiman of Newton, Mass., Jeremy Sappet of Sterling, Mass., and Thomas Mikkelsen of Holliston, Mass., who all finished with 71.05 miles. Mike Connolly of Quincy, Mass., joined them in surpassing the 100K distance by recording 63.70 miles.

Other Massachusetts residents who recorded ultramarathon distances in the 24-hour race were Ashburnham’s Sean Walker (56.35), North Falmouth’s Darrell McTague (56.35), Scituate’s Frank Judge (53.90), Uxbridge’s Sherry Brown (53.90), Dighton’s Lisa Menninger (53.90), South Easton’s Justin Horr (51.45), Cambridge’s Keith Connearney (49.00), Brookfield’s Jose Tovar Sandoval (49.00), Palmer’s Erica Simster (49.00), Norton’s Mark Blakeley (39.20), Boston’s Will Holets (36.75), Canton’s Torsten Gruenzig (34.30), Hanover’s Eugene Bryant (34.30), Sunderland’s Brennan McGuane (34.30), and Hopkinton’s Wayde Marshall (29.40).

Thirty-five runners competed in the 12-hour event, led by Craig Coleman of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., and Matthew Silberberg of Manchester, Conn., who both logged 63.70 miles. Third place went to Greg Stone of Falmouth, Mass., who logged 58.80 miles. Lisa Curtin of Quincy, Mass., was the women’s champion and finished fourth overall with 58.80 miles.

Two more runners – Alex Cotter of Sagamore Beach, Mass., and Crissy Straub of Lexington, Mass. – also surpassed 50 miles during the half-day run. Both tallied 51.45 miles.

Other Massachusetts runners who logged ultramarathon distances in the 12-hour race were Kimberly Hula of Arlington (46.55), Elise Reitshamer of Lexington (46.55), Melissa Arnold of Auburndale (46.55), Hanna Littlefield of Pembroke (44.10), Megan Scheffer of South Dartmouth (44.10), Jennifer Graves of Worcester (44.10), Tammy Cook of Salem (41.65), and Randy Wilbur of Charlton (39.20).

Additionally, 62 runners took part in the six-hour event which was won by Steve Brightman of Providence, R.I., who logged 36.75 miles. First-place female honors went to Tina Ryan of West Roxbury, Mass., who finished fifth overall with 31.85 miles. Counting Brightman and Ryan, 22 runners in the six-hour race ran ultramarathon distances. Massachusetts residents Robbie Hansen of Millbury (29.40), Jeffrey Wohlen of Lakeville (29.40), Jeanne Willis of North Attleboro (29.40), Kathleen Kearnan of West Roxbury (29.40), Bob Hansen of Millbury (26.95), and Aliicia Furrer of Cotuit (26.95) were among them.

Under Armour – Killington

The inaugural Under Armour Mountain Running Series made its way to New England on Saturday, Aug. 19, with the inaugural running of the Killington 50K in Killington, Vt. The event challenged runners with a loop course that featured more than 10,000 feet of vertical gain – including a climb to 4,000 feet above sea level.

The event brought speedy runners to New England from around the country, and Massachusetts residents held their own just fine in the fast field. Cody Reed of Flagstaff, Ariz., won the first of three Under Armour Mountain Running Series events last month at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Ore., and the 26-year-old added another victory at Killington with a winning time of 4:24:13. The men’s podium was rounded out with New England runners as 35-year-old Joshua Ferenc of Westmoreland, N.H., placed second in 4:36:47 and 38-year-old Brian Rusiecki of South Deerfield, Mass. – fresh off of a stage race victory a week earlier – finished third overall in 5:09:32.

Meanwhile, the fastest female in the field was 38-year-old Amy Rusiecki. The South Deerfield resident raced to victory in 5:45:28 and earned top-10 overall honors while doing so. Her next closest competitor was 32-year-old Sarah Keyes of Saranac Lake, N.Y., who finished in 5:50:22. Elizabeth Ryan, 30, of Somerville, Mass., rounded out the women’s podium with a third-place finish in 5:59:09. Ryan also was the 13th overall finisher.

Seventy-one runners completed the course within the nine-hour time limit.

Twisted Branch Trail Run

Year three of the Twisted Branch Trail Run featured the fastest field yet for the 100K footrace Saturday, Aug. 19, in Naples, N.Y., and one of the speediest competitors was the lone Massachusetts resident in the field.

Andover’s Joe Loureiro represented the Bay State in the field of 102 runners, and the 50-year-old threw down a strong performance on the point-to-point course that consisted of technical trails and around 10,000 feet of vertical gain. Loureiro finished seventh overall in 13:36:32.

The top five finishers all produced performances that were among the 10 best in event history, including the two fastest times ever. Jim Sweeney, 36, of Albany, N.Y., dominated the race with a course-record time of 10:16:05. Rich Heffron, 34, of Ithaca, N.Y., was second in 11:04:16.

Seventy-four runners completed the course within the 20-hour time limit.

Crotched Mountain 100K

The Hampshire 100 rebranded in 2017 to become the Crotched Mountain Hundred, and this year’s event – which took place Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Crotched Mountain Ski Area – once again featured numerous mountain biking events as well as its signature 100K and 50K ultramarathon runs.

Four runners completed the 100K race, including one from Massachusetts. Athol resident Eric Despres, 42, finished the two-loop 100K course in 14:14:04.

Additionally, eight runners finished the 50K race including 46-year-old Joseph Bulger of Winchendon, Mass., in 5:48:52.

Squamish 50

One of Canada’s most high-profile ultramarathon events – the Squamish 50 – lured a trio of Massachusetts residents to travel cross-continent in order to run some tough trails Aug. 19-20 in Squamish, B.C.

On Aug. 19, Cambridge resident Lisa Rising and Boston resident Bradford Berry toed the starting line for the 50-mile race on a course that was back-loaded with big climbs and tested them with 11,000 feet of vertical gain. Runners had 17 hours to finish the course, but Rising and Berry didn’t need that long. Rising put together a strong performance and placed in the top third of the field of 280 finishers. She finished 84th overall and was the 12th-place female finisher in 11:48:58.

Berry finished 152nd overall in 13:08:37.

A pair of British Columbia residents earned the top spots among the men and women. Mike Murphy of Squamish was the top male and overall winner in 8:10:10 while Lisa Polizzi of Vancouver took first-place female honors and placed 14th overall in 9:52:54.

On Sunday, Aug. 20, the Squamish 50K closed out with its 50K race – a massive event with tough singletrack trails and around 8,500 feet of vertical gain. Stacey Sarber of Boston, Mass., was one of 321 finishers of that race. Sarber finished 69th overall and was the 20th-place female in 7:25:15. Marcus Ribi of Richmond, B.C., earned the victory in 5:02:02 while first-place female Rachel Jaten of Spokane, Wash., placed fifth overall in 5:36:14. Runners had 11 1/2 hours to complete the course.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including, 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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