Feb. 3-4 marked the first weekend of multiple major national ultramarathons for 2018, and Massachusetts was well represented at both the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler in Texas and the Sean O’Brien 100K in California. The former served as the USATF Trail 100-Mile National Championship, while the latter was a Western States Endurance Run Golden Ticket race. Local runners had big days at both events, led by Ted MacMahon of North Andover who earned a Men’s Masters Division championship at Rocky.
Rocky Raccoon 100
The 26th annual Rocky Raccoon 100-miler featured a modified course thanks to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, but the reroute and the race’s typical mud did little to deter runners Feb. 3-4 at Huntsville State Park in Huntsville, Texas.
The race has long been one of the most popular 100-milers in the United States, and 2018 was no different as nearly 350 runners toed the starting line with hopes of going the distance within the 30-hour time limit. A pair of Massachusetts residents were among the 201 who did so – both in less than 24 hours – and earned finisher’s buckles.
The top local performer was Ted MacMahon of North Andover, Mass. MacMahon made his 100-mile debut in 2017 at the Vermont 100 and delivered a stellar performance, placing 13th overall in 18:37:17. He built upon that performance by having a big day at Rocky Raccoon. The 52-year-old MacMahon was among the strongest runners of the weekend as he consistently ran among the top 25. Ultimately, he finished seventh among the men, eighth overall, and secured the Masters Division Championship in 18:35:39.
The other Bay State resident to finish was Tom Dmukauskas. The 42-year-old from Somerville had a weekend of redemption. He took on Rocky Raccoon in 2017, but failed to finish. In 2018, however, he hammered out a strong and steady race and placed 54th overall in 23:24:32.
Seventy-three runners finished in less than 24 hours.
The race champions were a pair of Texas residents, Ronnie Delzer and Sabrina Little. Delzer, 36, of The Woodlands, ran away with the men’s victory in 14:52:37, and he was the only runner to complete the course faster than Little. The 31-year-old Little, a Robinson resident, placed second overall and dominated the women’s field in 15:23:36.
Sean O’Brien 100K
Golden Tickets into the Western States Endurance Run were up for grabs at the fourth annual Sean O’Brien 100K on Saturday, Feb. 3, in Malibu, Calif., and a trio of Massachusetts residents headed West to take their shot.
The biggest hopeful was Boston resident Joe McConaughy who placed in the top 10 at a pair of major West Coast races in 2017. McConaughy was in the hunt for most of the day, but it didn’t end that way. Contrary to an error in the initial race results, McConaughy did not finish the race. Initial results showed him placing third, however he dropped from the race at mile 49. McConaughy, 26, was making his first appearance at a major race since breaking the Appalachian Trail self-supported speed record in 2017. He spent a good part of the race running in the top 10 overall, and by mid-race he’d climbed into the top five and was as high as fourth before a foot injury derailed his day and he decided to drop.
While McConaughy was unable to cap off his day with a big finish, another local runner did. Jeremy Scanlan, 35, of Worcester, Mass., delivered perhaps his finest ultramarathon performance on trail. He handled the 80-degree temperature and 14,000 feet of climbing and battled to a 13th-place finish among the men and placed 18th overall in 11:30:28.
The performance was just the latest strong outing for Scanlan following a 2017 season where he had numerous big performances. Those included finishing 13th overall at the JFK 50-miler in Maryland, placing sixth at the Bear Chase 50K in Colorado, and finishing fourth at the Anetlope Island Buffalo Run 50-miler in Utah.
Additionally, 37-year-old Doug MacLean of Tyngsboro, Mass., finished 71st overall in 14:12:36.
Florian Neuschwander, 36, of Offenbach Am Main, Germany, won the race with the fourth-best time in course history, earning a Golden Ticket in 8:48:04. The other men’s Golden Ticket went to 32-year-old Charlie Ware of Tucson, Ariz., who was the runner-up in 9:06:54. The women’s Golden Tickets went to 32-year-old Courtney Dauwalter of Golden, Colo., who smashed the course record by 13 minutes and took the ladies’ crown in 9:38:17 while placing fourth overall. Kate Elliott, 31, of Santa Barbara, Calif., finished fifth overall and was the second women’s Golden Ticket-winner in 10:15:10.
Of the 180 starters, 135 finished within the 16 1/2-hour time limit. The top four finished in less than 10 hours.
*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.