More than 50 ultramarathons across the United States made Oct. 6-8 the busiest weekend of racing in 2017. Although there were no ultras in Massachusetts, plenty of Bay State runners took on the trails in other states on plenty of challenging courses. Multiple runners earned 100-mile finishes – including a second-place performance by Brian Rusiecki at Grindstone in Virginia, and many runners logged their first 100-mile finishes – including Scot DeDeo at the Hennepin Hundred in Illinois.
This week’s roundup features five races from the past weekend – and there are plenty more results we’re still tracking down (looking at you, Bromont, Farm to Farm, and Tesla Hertz). Additionally, we tracked down local results from the NipMuck “Heavy” Trail Marathon from Oct. 1.
Brian Rusiecki wasn’t sure if he’d race another 100-miler this year after winning the Vermont 100 in July. He had a change of heart as time went by, however, and he showed up at the starting line of the Grindstone 100 on Friday, Oct. 6, in Swope, Va.
Rusiecki was one of six Massachusetts residents to take on the 101.85-mile out-and-
back course and its gnarly 23,000 feet of climbing through the Shenandoah Mountains, and the 38-year-old from South Deerfield was the fastest of the six to finish.
Avery Collins of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was the first to complete the course as the 25-year-old cruised to victory in 18:40:37. Rusiecki was next. He and 33-year-old Caleb Denton of Elizabethton, Tenn., finished together in second place in 19:28:38.
It was Rusiecki’s second time placing second at Grindstone. He did so in 2014 (19:08:01) before winning the race in 2015 (20:24:04).
Kathleen Cusick – who joined Rusiecki in winning the Vermont 100 earlier this year – defended her title at Grindstone as she finished first among the ladies and 22nd overall in 22:59:18.
Another Massachusetts resident – 35-year-old William Jackson of Salem – joined Rusiecki in finishing in less than 24 hours. In fact, Jackson was the last runner to dip under that time barrier as he placed 36th overall in 23:57:54.
The other four Bay State residents who started the race all finished. John Kemp, 49, of Sheffield, placed 55th overall in 25:43:56 in his 100-mile debut; Kristen Smith, 32, of Salem, was 62nd overall in 26:31:55 while notching her second 100-mile finish; Katie Falkowski, 31, of Hyannis, placed 144th in 34:05:22 in her first 100-miler; and Christopher Agbay, 40, of Jefferson finished 157th in 35:38:48 for his fifth Grindstone finish.
Of the 236 runners who started the race, 182 finished within the 38-hour time limit.
From Vermont to Arizona, from Ontario to China, Ralph Crowley has raced ultramarathons all over the place. Prior to 2017, however, he hadn’t taken on a course in California.
That changed when the 32-year-old resident of Princeton, Mass., competed in the sixth annual Cuyamaca 100K on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Julian, Calif. Crowley held his own just fine as he raced to a 12th-place overall finish in 12:41:27. He was ninth among the men.
Crowley has now finished ultras in at least 11 states and three countries.
Only 14 of the 146 finishers completed the Cuyamaca course in less than 13 hours, led by 38-year-old Fernando Blanco of Vista, Calif., who was the overall winner in 10:11:03. The women’s champion, 37-year-old Elizabeth Tenuto of Solano Beach, Calif., placed sixth overall in 11:37:22.
Runners had 19 hours to complete the race.
Scot DeDeo’s 100-mile debut was a smashing success. The 37-year-old resident of Belmont, Mass., took his first crack at the triple-digit distance at the Hennepin Hundred on Saturday, Oct. 7, and he delivered a top-10 finish and sub-24-hour performance.
The point-to-point course along the Hennepin Canal from Sterling, Ill., to Colona, Ill., is flat and fast, and that suited DeDeo well. He was among the top runners from start to finish, and he ultimately finished as the ninth-place male and 10th overall finisher in a sizzling 18:28:20.
It was the latest solid outing for DeDeo, who finished fourth at the Ruck a Chuck 50K in Forresthill, Calif., in March, placed third at the TARC Summer Classic 40-miler in August, and also ran a 66-mile bike race at the Coast to the Cure NF Bike Ride in September.
Oswaldo Lopez, 45, of Madera, Calif., earned the overall victory at the Hennepin Hundred in 15:47:19, comfortably ahead of 52-year-old Mike Borst of Slinger, Wisc., who finished second in 16:24:00. The women’s champion was third-place overall finisher Mallory Richard, 32, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 16:28:14.
Of the 140 runners who started the race, 124 finished within the 30-hour time limit and 60 broke the 24-hour barrier.
Joe English Twilight Challenge
One constant in the four-year history of the Joe English Twilight Challenge has been Jim Demeritt’s presence at the starting line. Demeritt was back for the six-hour nighttime race on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Amherst, N.H., and he notched his fourth straight top-10 finish at the event.
Demeritt, 50, of Acton, Mass., logged 30.15 miles and finished eighth overall in a field of 24 runners. It was a particularly strong performance just a week removed from completing the 50-mile race at the TARC Fall Classic.
Chris Clapp, 48, of Portsmouth, N.H., was the top performer in the ultra race with 39.33 miles. He notched the second-best mileage total in event history behind Ben Pangie’s record of 40.64 miles from 2014.
Oregon Coast 50K
Jonathan McLean made his ultramarathon debut with a trip out West as the 25-year-old from Holliston, Mass., took part in the fourth annual Oregon Coast 50K on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Yachats, Ore.
McLean took on a course that was a mixture of dirt trails and pavement, and he was one of 245 runners to finish within the nine-hour time limit. He placed 213th overall in 7:23:34.
The top three finishers completed the course in less than four hours, led by 31-year-old Mario Mendoza of Bend, Ore., who earned the victory in 3:42:11.
No Name 5030
Carolina Villarreal-Tiede was one of 45 runners to complete the 50K race at the fourth annual No Name 5030 on Saturday, Oct. 7, in Agoura, Calif. The race – which was part of a larger endurance festival that also offered 50-mile, 30K and 15K distances – took place at Cheeseboro National Park in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area on a course consisting entirely of dirt singletrack trails and 4,400 feet of vertical gain.
Villarreal-Tiede, 35, of Hopedale, Mass., finished 30th overall and was the ninth-place female finisher in 7:59:37.
Jeffrey Stern, 30, of Santa Barbara, Calif., was the overall winner in 4:14:50. The top female, 35-year-old Kira Krukowski of Thousand Oaks, Calif., placed 11th overall in 5:35:19.
NipMuck Trail “Heavy” Marathon
Two tenths of a mile nudge the NipMuck Trail Marathon into the ultramarathon distance by the slimmest of margins, and they make the 34-year-old event one of the shortest ultras in New England – if not the shortest.
The annual event and its unique double-out-and-back course that starts and finishes in the middle took place Sunday, Oct. 1, in Ashford, Conn., and 114 runners successfully completed the course.
Richard Wolferz, a 24-year-old from Asbury, N.J., fended off 38-year-old Daniel Grip of Millers Falls, Mass., in a close battle for the overall victory. Wolferz crossed the finish line in 3:41:17, less than two minutes ahead of Grip who was the runner-up in 3:42:49.
Annabelle Wilson, 25, of Madison, N.H., was the women’s champion and 13th overall finisher in 4:29:37.
For Grip, the second-place finish was a significant improvement from a year ago when he placed 19th overall in 4:15:12 in his ultramarathon debut.
Grip was one of 22 Massachusetts residents to complete this year’s race, and he was joined by six others in the top 25. The trio of Clinton’s Kieran Norton, 35, Longmeadow’s Chris Ollari, 47, and Beverly’s Michael Dietze, 41, all finished within a 27-second window. Norton was 18th in 4:35:07; Ollari was 19th in 4:35:19; and Dietze placed 20th in 4:35:34. Additionally, the trio of Stow’s Sam Farnsworth, 57, Westfield’s Matt Howard, 33, and Westford’s Andrew Greaves, 26, finished within a two-minute window of each other. Farnsworth placed 23rd in 4:38:05; Howard was 24th in 4:38:11; and Greaves was 25th in 4:40:05.
Other Massachusetts finishers were 54-year-old Robert Mackin of Acton (33rd, 4:50:04); 29-year-old Amara Gerarden of Somerville (46th, 5:09:54); 44-year-old Anthony Tieuli of Milford (53rd, 5:17:19); 60-year-old Kevin Mullen of Fairhaven (55th, 5:21:13); 43-year-old Jeremy Bombard of Framingham (58th, 5:26:13); 47-year-old Charles Joyal of Agawam (61st, 5:28:00); 51-year-old Pete Despres of Fairhaven (65th, 5:34:01); 55-year-old Katya Divari of Ashland (70th, 5:44:39); 48-year-old Stephen Taylor of New Bedford (72nd, 5:49:19); 27-year-old Jon Kalus of Ashland (78th, 5:56:57); 59-year-old David Digregorio of Southbridge (92nd, 6:26:20); 35-year-old Kevin Merchant of Auburn (93rd, 6:26:23); 44-year-old Bart McCarthy of Beverly (96th, 6:28:29); 42-year-old Travis Allen of Boxford (97th, 6:34:38); and 68-year-old Patrick Canonica of Boxford (111th, 7:09:56).
*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.