MassUltra Roundup: Pisgah, Forgotten Forest, Boulder Field, and SRT

Local ladies secured the top three places at Pisgah in New Hampshire, Southborough’s Brian Butterfield won the Forgotten Forest 9-Hour in Connecticut, and Bay State residents also took on the Boulder Field 50K in Pennsylvania and SRT 50K in New York during the Sept. 16-17 weekend. All four races are included in this week’s roundup.

Pisgah Mountain Trail Race

A trio of Massachusetts ladies swept the podium at the 18th annual Pisgah Mountain Trail Race 50K on Sunday, Sept. 17, in Chesterfield, N.H.

Woburn’s Samantha LeBlanc, Berlin’s Lorena Duquette, and Holden’s Jen Hebert all delivered strong performances on the trails of Pisgah State Park en route to claiming the top three places.

LeBlanc, 28, was the speediest of the trio. She ran away with the victory by nearly 50 minutes and finished 14th overall in 5:21:44. The race for second was much closer between Duquette, 40, and Hebert, 39. Duquette got to the finish line 45 seconds faster and earned second-place female honors in 6:11:45 while placing 27th overall. Hebert finished moments later in 6:12:30.

The top Massachusetts male finisher was South Deerfield’s Brian Rusiecki. The 38-year-old placed fifth overall in 4:32:02. David Kilgore, 25, of Keene, N.H., earned the victory in 3:52:55. Two more Massachusetts men joined Rusiecki in the top 10. Chris Baynes, 47, of Marshfield Hills was sixth in 4:58:59, and Jason Gray, 37, of Northbridge placed seventh in 5:01:38.

Five more Massachusetts runners earned spots in the top 20, led by 36-year-old Jesse Veinotte of Hubbardston in 5:13:32. Additionally, Alex Parker, 50, of West Roxbury finished 15th in 5:24:05; Gregory Esbitt, 43, of Ipswich, was 16th in 5:24:55; Carsten Braun, 48, of Greenfield placed 18th in 5:32:12; and Dan Doherty, 37, of Westford finished 19th in 5:38:44.

Other Massachusetts finishers were: Barry Murphy, 34, of South Boston (6:05:40); Sam Farnsworth, 57, of Stow (6:07:55); Christopher Knighton, 29, of Boston (6:09:34); Lisa Rising, 26, of Cambridge (6:26:27); Jeff LeBlanc, 31, of Woburn (6:36:26); Stephen Taylor, 48, of New Bedford (7:01:21); Kevin Mullen, 60, of Fairhaven (7:02:12); Sam Black, 45, of Winchendon (7:03:49); Michael Grobicki, 28, of Andover (7:17:50); Katya Divari, 55, of Ashland (7:40:39); Christine Feder, 47, of Westborough (7:47:24); David Orsman, 48, of South Hadley (7:52:48); Lee Dickey, 63, of Dracut (8:39:14); Siobhan Daly, 36, of Weymouth (8:41:48); and Michelle Kelly, 37, of Boston (8:41:48).

Seventy-six runners completed the course within 10 hours.

Forgotten Forest Ultra

Year Two of the Forgotten Forest Ultra Run featured a flurry of fast times as two runners surpassed the 50-mile mark and a dozen broke the 40-mile barrier on Saturday, Sept. 16, in Stratford, Conn.

Runners had nine hours to take on a 10K loop as many times as they wanted. The loop was broken into two smaller loops of 3.5 and 2.7 miles and wound through the Roosevelt Forest on singletrack and doubletrack trails. The course’s rolling hills were enough to provide some variety without slowing runners’ pace too much.

Fifty-eight runners took on the challenge, and 47 ran farther than a marathon distance. Of those 47, 20 hailed from Massachusetts including one of the runners who surpassed the 50-mile mark.

In his tune-up run for October’s Ghost Train 100-Miler, 38-year-old Brian Butterfield of Southborough, Mass., threw down a strong performance as he logged the most miles of any runner with 53.27 miles in nine hours. He was joined at the top of the podium by 28-year-old Kyle Neuberger of Newington, Conn., who matched Butterfield’s mileage total.

Not far behind Butterfield and Neuberger was 28-year-old Sarah Ports. The resident of Lebanon, Conn., was the first-place female and notched the third-most miles of anybody with 49.76.

The 2016 champion, 59-year-old John Brown of Northbridge, Mass., finished fifth overall this year and was the fourth-place male with 43.54 miles. He ran 49.76 during his winning effort a year ago. Two more Massachusetts residents were among the top 10 overall. Auburndale’s Melissa Arnold, 35, and Fairhaven’s Ryan Powers, 36, both completed 40.83 miles. Arnold’s total earned her second-place honors in the women’s standings.

Five runners finished the day with 37.32 miles, including Massachusetts residents Wendy Andre, 47, and Jennifer Rushton, 41, both of New Bedford, and 44-year-old Jennifer Haskell of East Freetown.

Emily Schall, 30, of Boston, was one of eight runners to complete 34.61 miles.

Additionally, 17 runners finished five loops of the course for a solid 50K. Ten of those runners in the 31.1-mile group hailed from Massachusetts. They were 28-yar-old Meghan Davis of Boston; 50-year-old Cindy Tjersland of Dartmouth; 34-year-old Kate Powers and 63-year-old Kenny Rogers of Fairhaven; 41-year-old Jay Kruger of New Bedford; 61-year-old Kevin Strum of Peabody; 49-year-old Paula Finestone of Billerica; 51-year-old Karen Giroux of Salem; 47-year-old Bila Ozaslan of Melrose; and 41-year-old Pranee Terry of Orange.

Sherry Brown and Jennifer McLaughlin were the other Massachusetts residents who also surpassed the marathon distance. Brown, 55, of Uxbridge, and McLaughlin, 41, of Townsend, both completed 28.39 miles.

Boulder Field 50K

The Boulder Field 50K gets its obvious name from the massive boulder field runners encounter during their loop of the course at Hickory Run State Park in Jim Thorpe, Pa. Runners tackled the boulder field for the second straight year on Saturday, Sept. 16, when they had 12 hours to complete the 50K loop. Steven Palmer of North Reading, Mass., was among the 150 runners to complete the course within that time limit. Palmer, 44, finished in 7:11:25 and placed 89th overall.

The overall victory went to 31-year-old Russell Kalbach of Wayne, Pa., who was one of three runners to finish in less than four hours. Kalbach’s winning time was 3:52:23.

Additionally, the event also featured 100K and 18-mile distance options. Thirty runners completed the 100K race, which consisted of two 50K loops and around 8,000 feet of vertical gain. No Massachusetts residents were among the field.

SRT Ultras

The third running of the SRT Ultras on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail took place Saturday, Sept. 16, in Rosendale, N.Y., with runners challenging themselves with 70-mile, 50-mile, and 30-mile ultramarathon distances in addition to a half marathon offering.

The race fields were heavy on New Yorkers, but a Massachusetts resident was included among the ultramarathon finishers.

Henry Pratt of Highland, N.Y., was the fastest of the 30 finishers. The 44-year-old broke his own course record from 2015 by 12 minutes with a winning time of 5:06:00. One Massachusetts resident, 40-year-old Su Mittra of Medford, was among the finishers as he completed the course in 12:17:00. Runners had 15 hours to complete the course.

No Massachusetts residents completed the 70-mile or 50-mile races.

*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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