Aliza Lapierre doesn’t run the Stone Cat 50 every year, but she’s unstoppable when she does.
She won the race in 2007, 2009 and 2011, the latter two of which produced the two fastest times on the women’s course record board leading into the 17th running of the event on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Willowdale State Forest in Ipswich, Mass.
Lapierre was back at the starting line for the fourth time at this year’s race, and the result was the same as the others. The 37-year-old from Williston, Vt., performed up to her lofty standards with another classic effort on the four-loop course. She dominated the women’s field – and almost all of the men’s field, too – as she finished third overall and secured the top spot among the ladies for the fourth time. Lapierre’s winning time of 7:16:55 was the second-fastest time on the record board, trailing only her course standard of 7:06:13 from 2011.
Lapierre easily outdistanced the rest of the ladies’ podium. Fellow Williston resident Serena Wilcox, 38, was the women’s runner-up in 8:23:17, followed by 37-year-old Marcie Holland of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 8:26:15.
Lapierre spent most of her race battling with the top three men who, along with her, distanced themselves from the rest of the field. Michael Austin, 35, of Delmar, N.Y., pulled away for the overall victory in 7:01:40, followed by 21-year-old Peter Howe of Gilmantron Ironworks, N.H., in 7:08:33. Michael Stadolnik, 44, of Plainfield, Conn., rounded out the men’s podium and finished fourth overall in 7:21:26.
While Massachusetts runners were shut out of the podium, the top Bay State runners came close. Quincy’s Matthew McKenna, 32, was the fourth-place male finisher and fifth overall in 7:40:07. He edged 29-year-old Dylan Brann of Bar Harbor, Maine, by 59 seconds. Two minutes later, Topsfield’s Ian Stephens, 43, finished in 7:43:33, good for seventh overall and sixth among the men. Other Massachusetts runners among the top 10 men were 33-year-old Jonathon Western of Topsfield (7:57:03), 54-year-old Dima Feinhaus of Waban (8:03:10), and 47-year-old Cristian Popa of Quincy (8:10:51).
South Deerfield’s Amy Rusiecki was the top local women’s finisher. Rusiecki, 38, missed the podium by two minutes and finished fourth among the ladies in 8:28:14. Rebeccah Grieb, 28, of Bar Harbor, Maine, finished just behind her for fifth in 8:29:41.
Heather Lucas and Kelly Manchester joined Rusiecki in representing Massachusetts in the ladies’ top 10. Lucas, 33, of Hopkinton, finished sixth in 8:39:51, while Fairhaven resident Manchester, 34, placed eighth in 9:06:07.
A total of 118 runners finished the 50-miler within 13 hours.
In addition to the ultramarathon, 215 runners completed the Stone Cat Marathon. A trio of Massachusetts men did battle for the overall win, and less than one minute separated the top two at the finish line. Littleton’s Sean McDonough, 34, edged Hopkinton’s Steve Levandosky, 47, with McDonough crossing the line first in 3:10:58 and Levandosky following in 3:11:53. Kingston’s Dustin Baker, 46, placed third in 3:15:37. The women’s marathon champion, 42-year-old Lyne Bessette of Topsfield, Mass., placed seventh overall in 3:25:02 and outdistanced runner-up Emily Rose, 29, of Portland, Maine, by 17 minutes. Keri Stanovitch, 39, of Mansfield, Mass., rounded out the ladies’ podium in 3:49:06.