December is typically a quiet month of racing for Massachusetts ultrarunners as cold weather rolls into New England and the holiday season cuts into the running travel schedule. A large crop of local runners spent the first weekend of the month in-state at the Trail Animals Running Club’s Fells Winter Ultra at the Middlesex Fells Reservation (separate story in development), and just one race earned a spot in this week’s roundup. New Bedford’s Lynn Poyant opened December with a 100-mile finish at the Devil Dog Ultras.
Poyant Earns Redemption at Devil Dog
Lynn Poyant closed out a strong 2016 racing season with a rare blemish on her resume when she traveled to Triangle, Va., for the Devil Dog Ultras’ 100-mile race and was unable to finish.
History did not repeat itself in 2017.
Poyant has had a stellar racing season this year with a victory at the Viaduct Trail 100 and a runner-up finish at the Vegan Power 50K among her solid results. She returned to Virginia for another crack at the Devil Dog 100 on Dec. 2-3 at Prince William Forest Park, and this time she reached the finish line.
Devil Dog challenges runners with a multi-loop course, the first being a 23-mile big loop, followed by five 19.5-mile loops of singletrack trails – some technical, some smooth – and a few sections of fire road. Poyant, 54, of New Bedford, Mass., battled tough and earned her finisher’s belt buckle in 30:40:57. She placed 35th overall and was the fourth-place female.
After placing second at the inaugural race in 2016, 41-year-old Keith Knipling of Alexandra, Va., brought home the overall win in 2017 with a time of 19:58:03.
The top five finishers completed the race in less than 25 hours.
The women’s champion, 26-year-old Barbara Brown of Herndon, Va., finished 13th overall in 27:35:08. Ladies runner-up Brooke Schell, 47, of Lenhartsville, Pa., followed in 28:04:37. Amy Good of West Reading, Pa., rounded out the podium as the 40-year-old finished in 30:05:51, about 35 minutes ahead of Poyant.
Poyant wasn’t the only Massachusetts resident to take on the Devil Dog 100-miler. Pembroke resident Derek Brinkmann also started the race, but the 23-year-old didn’t finish. He wasn’t along. Of the 103 runners who started the race, just 55 finished within the 32-hour time limit.
In addition to the 100-mile race, a 100K was offered. Of the 102 runners who started the 100K, 83 finished within the 20-hour time limit, led by 24-year-old Sam Dever of Wilmington, Del., who logged a winning time of 10:23:51. Carol Cohen, 41, of Arlington, Va., was the first-place female finisher and sixth overall in 13:03:54. No Massachusetts residents took part in the 100K.
*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.