The Fall 50 has been a staple in the Wisconsin ultrarunning community for more than a decade, but the event made its Massachusetts debut on Sunday, Oct. 1, on Cape Cod. In doing so, the Bay State edition of the event crowned its first champion – Mark Ste. Marie of Charlestown, Mass.
Ste. Marie, 38, was one of six runners to successfully complete the solo option for the 50-mile footrace from Wellfleet to Barnstable. Runners had 11 hours to finish the race.
The event also included a relay option, and two teams of two and 26 teams consisting of between three and five runners finished the relay option.
The race began just after sunrise at White Crest Beach with seven runners toeing the starting line. From there, they ran along the Cape Cod National Seashore, including stretches of the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Old Colony Rail Trail, and made their way to Craigville Beach in Barnstable. The entire route was paved, save for the sandy beach at the finish line, which made for good footing and fast running. Quintessential fall weather on the Cape – cool in the morning, highs in the mid-60s and sunny – provided accommodating conditions for a long day of running.
Ste. Marie was the first runner to reach the beach in Barnstable. A long chute of orange cones guided him through the sand toward the finish line where a yellow ribbon with the race logo emblazoned on it marked the end of his journey. Ste. Marie raced through the sand and over the timing mat. The yellow ribbon wrapped around his waist as he passed through. He was the winner in a time of 8:56:14.
For Ste. Marie, it was his first 50-miler entirely on pavement and a personal best time for the distance. He finished the Stone Cat 50-miler in Ipswich and the Rock the Ridge 50-miler in New Paltz, N.Y., in 2016.
Shortly after Ste. Marie secured his victory, the women’s champion was crowned. Meg Capodanno, 49, of Fairfield, Conn., was the second runner and first female to make it to Barnstable. She finished in 9:21:50.
Seven minutes after Capodanno’s finish, men’s runner-up Bill Lapsley completed the course. The 61-year-old resident of Plymouth, Mass., finished in 9:28:50. Adam Dodge rounded out the men’s top three shortly thereafter as the 31-year-old from Goffstown, N.H., finished in 9:39:12.
Adena Schutzberg, 53, of Somerville, Mass., secured second-place honors among the ladies and fifth-place overall in 9:50:12. April Tressler, 33, of Wildwood Crest, N.J., rounded out the finishers when she raced across Craigville Beach just under the 11-hour cutoff, finishing in 10:56:59.
While 2017 marked the inaugural year of the Fall 50 on Cape Cod, the event has taken place since 2006 in Door County, Wisc. Its 12th running is on Oct. 21. Similar to the Cape Cod race, the Wisconsin event started small, too, but grew rapidly. It’s relay option sold out during each of the past two years with 500 teams. The 2017 relay option is once again sold out, and about half of the solo spots have been filled.