BART Runners Log Big Miles at 8-Hour Ultra

The Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public School spends its cross country season competing at shorter distances such as 5Ks, but the program’s relatively new postseason tradition has runners tackling longer distances – much longer.

After launching the Howl-Weenie and Half-Weenie end-of-season marathon and half marathon races in 2015, the team expanded the event to include an eight-hour race in 2016 that enticed runners to tackle ultramarathon distances. Nine runners were up to that challenge in 2016, and six surpassed the marathon distance – three going beyond 30 miles.

The third annual Howl-Weenie took place Saturday, Nov. 4, at Greylock Glen Pavilion on the BART cross country course in Adams, Mass., and this time 15 runners toed the starting line for the eight-hour race. This time, eight ran more than a marathon and four surpassed 30 miles.

Most—but not all—of the participants were BART cross country runners. In fact, six of the eight runners who logged more than 26.2 miles ranged in age from 11 to 16 years old. Only two runners – BART teacher and coach Bennjamin Griffin, 31, of Pittsfield, Mass., and 65-year-old John Lavoie of St. Albans, Vt. – weren’t students. Both Griffin and Lavoie are veteran ultrarunners – Griffin has finished numerous ultras and is a race director for the Berkshire Ultra Running Community for Service, and Lavoie’s ultramarathon feats include three consecutive finishes of the grueling Cruel Jewel 100-miler in Georgia – but Saturday’s race proved the seasoned veterans have some up-and-coming competition from the younger runners.

Last year, Griffin and BART runner Joshua Doubiago both logged 34.6 miles, more than any other runner at the eight-hour race. This year, Griffin and the 16-year-old Doubiago of Adams, Mass., both led the field with 32.44 miles. They were joined by 15-year-old William Schrade of North Adams, Mass., and 16-year-old Jessica Doubiago who also completed 32.44 miles. It was Schrade’s third time surpassing the marathon distance, and it was Jessica Doubiago’s first ultramarathon.

Two more BART runners, 11-year-old Emmett Krantz of Pittsfield, Mass., and 13-year-old Ty Aubin of Adams, Mass., finished with 29.33 miles. Krantz became the youngest BART runner to complete an ultramarathon. Lavoie completed 28.29 miles, and 16-year-old Thomas Cook of Adams, Mass., edged past the marathon distance with 26.45 miles. Cook tallied 40.157 miles at the BURCS’ Sweltering Summer 8-Hour Ultra in August.

In addition to the eight-hour race, runners also were given a half marathon option. Seven runners completed the half marathon including 13-year-old Nathaniel Gillman of Pittsfield, Mass., who was the male champion in 2:40:09, and 12-year-old Amelia Soler-Sala of Williamstown, Mass., who was the female champion in 2:52:11.

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