MassUltra Roundup: Bimblers Bluff, Wawayanda Wonderful, and the Big Backyard Ultra

Not every ultrarunner in Massachusetts took on the Ghost Train Rail Trail Ultras Oct. 21-22 in New Hampshire. A few journeyed to Connecticut, New Jersey, and Tennessee to take on distances ranging from 50K to 100 miles. Those out-of-state races – the Bimblers Bluff 50K, the Wawayanda Wonderful Wonhundred, and the Big Backyard Ultra – are featured in this week’s roundup.

Bimblers Bluff 50K

Seven Massachusetts ultrarunners were among 134 to take on the singletrack trails and forest roads of the Bimblers Bluff 50K course at the 10th annual event Sunday, Oct. 22, in Guilford, Conn.

Jeremy Shaw was the top finisher from the Bay State. The 32-year-old Watertown resident placed 19th overall and was the 16th male finisher in 6:04:59. The top Massachusetts female finisher was 23-year-old Amherst resident Katherine Keith who was fourth among the ladies and 20th overall in 6:06:53.

Other finishers from the Bay State included 25-year-old Brighton resident Maureen McCaffrey in 6:34:41; 39-year-old Harwich resident Mariya Michniewicz in 6:49:57; 30-year-old Watertown resident Jon Frisch in 7:05:30; 40-year-old Quincy resident Jason Oberton in 9:27:40; and 55-year-old Roy Van Buren of Woburn in 9:39:50.

Marc Robaczynski, 43, of Avon, Conn., was the first-place male finisher in 4:28:18 as he won by a 12-minute margin. Molly Housman, 44, of Meriden, N.H., was the top female and third overall finisher in 5:10:06.

Wawayanda Wonderful

While the Ghost Train was packed with runners pursuing distances between 30 and 100 miles on Oct. 21-22, Tim Rucki found a less crowded course on which to pursue his first 100-mile finish.

Rucki took part in the New Jersey Trail Series’ Wawayanda Wonderful Wonhundred 100-mile race Oct. 21-22 at Wawayanda State Park in Hewitt, N.J., and the 24-year-old from Westfield, Mass., was one of four runners to hit the triple-digit milestone within the 30-hour time limit. Ryan Jones, 38, of Morrisville, Pa., got there first in 21:09:26. Rucki finished second.

Racing on a 25-mile clover-leaf loop that runners had to complete four times, Rucki covered the distance in 23:02:31.

The event also offered 50-mile and 50K distances. Ten runners completed the 50-mile race, led by 35-year-old Michael Postaski of Maplewood, N.J., in 9:28:59. Twenty-two runners finished the 50K race, led by 29-year-old Mariel Feigen of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 5:23:46. No Massachusetts residents competed at either distance.

Big Backyard Ultra

Even by Laz Lake’s standards for mind-bending and body-breaking ultra endurance events, the 2017 Big Backyard Ultra was bonkers. Lake – the race director of the notorious Barkley Marathons – played host to the Big Backyard Ultra, starting on Saturday, Oct. 21. A “last man standing” event, the race finished nearly 2 1/2 days later.

The event takes place in Bell Buckle, Tenn., on a 4.166667-mile trail loop, switches to a road course during the overnight hours, and then returns to the trail for more daytime running. Runners start a new loop at 40 minutes past the hour, every hour, until only one is left standing.

The 2014 race was the first to have a runner surpass 150 miles when both Johan Steene and Jeremy Ebel completed 204.183 miles before tapping out. Their distance record was blown out of the water in 2017.

Guillaume Calmettes, 33, of Los Angeles, Calif., finished this year’s Big Backyard Ultra with 59 laps and 245.835 miles in his winning effort. Calmettes went toe-to-toe with 41-year-old Harvey Lewis of Cincinnati, Ohio, before Calmettes finished with 58 laps and 241.668 miles. The third-most miles went to Johan Steene, 43, of Stockholm, Sweden, who logged 43 laps and 154.167 miles.

Fifty-eight runners took part, and 14 made it at least 100 miles. A trio of New Englanders took part, including one fromm Massachusetts. Malden resident Claire Horan, 32, took part for 10 hours and finished 41.667 miles before retiring from the race.

Horan was joined at the starting line by two runners from Vermont. Lance Parker, 23, of Montpelier, finished 13 laps and 54.167 miles. John Fegyveresi, 40, of Quechee, finished 12 hours and 50 miles.

*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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