Not many ultrarunners ventured beyond the Bay State borders to race during the weekend of March 10-11, but those who did fared quite well. Both Deanna Nappi of Jamaica Plain and Tyler Dion of Leominster delivered podium-worthy efforts at races in Virginia and Kentucky, making it a highly successful weekend for the Massachusetts ultra community. Their performances – Nappi at the Bel Monte 50K and Dion at the Land Between the Lakes 60K – are featured in this week’s roundup.
Almost a year to the day from running her first ultramarathon, Deanna Nappi delivered her strongest performance yet.
Nappi, 24, of Jamaica Plain, Mass., made her ultra debut on March 11, 2017, at the Land Between the Lakes 60K in Kentucky, and built up to a 50-miler at the Vermont 50 by late September. On Saturday, March 10, Nappi capped her first year of ultrarunning by stepping to the starting line of the Bel Monte 50K in Lyndhurst, Va. Soft singletrack trails and dirt roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains were ahead of her, and Nappi handled the course like a seasoned veteran.
Nappi ran among the fastest runners throughout the race while winding through the George Washington National Forest, up and down hills to the tune of 3,100 feet of gain. When all was said and done, Nappi was the 11th overall runner to cross the finish line, and the second-place woman in 6:22:00. Women’s champion Alissa Keith, 32, of Forest, Va., got there 10 minutes faster in 6:12:12. The third-place finisher was nearly five minutes behind Nappi.
Tim Gruber, 23, of Richmond, Va., was the men’s winner in 4:47:03. Seventy-four runners completed the 50K within 11 hours.
Additionally, 61 runners completed a 50-mile race, though none were from Massachusetts. The men’s winner was Brian Pickett, 38, of Kingsport, Tenn., in 8:34:17, while 33-year-old Julia Popova of Fort Washington, Md., earned the women’s victory in 10:11:40.
Land Between the Lakes
Tyler Dion had an unforgettable first ultramarathon performance at the Land Between the Lakes 60K on Saturday, March 10, in Grand Rivers, Ky. The 22-year-old resident of Leominster, Mass., made a dazzling debut while battling in a field of more than 120 runners.
The race included multiple 11.3-mile loops of the Canal Loop Trail in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, consisting of rolling hills and easy-running singletrack dirt. Dion hammered the course and was one of just five runners to finish in less than six hours. In fact, the lone New Englander in the race was one of the three fastest in the field. He blazed across the finish line third overall and second place among the men in 5:35:21. The only runners faster than him were first-place female and overall champion Denise Bourassa, 48, of St. Louis, Mo., in 5:24:18, and men’s winner Aaron Bradner, 30, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 5:31:05.
Additionally, 70 runners completed the Land Between the Lakes 50-mile race within 12 hours, though none were from New England. Dustin Mitchell, 22, of Florence, Ky., was the overall winner and lone sub-seven-hour finisher in 6:26:32.
*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.