While many of Massachusetts’ ultrarunners were racing or volunteering or racing at the To Hale and Back 6-Hour Ultra on Saturday, March 24, in Westwood, Mass., a few ventured beyond the Bay State and took on races in New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland. Most notably, a pair of women – Kehr Davis of Great Barrington and Amy Rusiecki of South Deerfield – brought home victories from tough mountain races. We have it all covered in this week’s roundup.
The Mt. Tammany 10
As a general rule, the tougher a course is, the better Kehr Davis performs. At least that seems to be the case based on her results in recent years. For example, last year she hammered out a victory at the grueling Manitou’s Revenge 54-miler in Windham, N.Y., for her second victory on that course. She’s also a former champion at the Fells Winter Ultra 40-miler, and she’s a former course record-holder at the Don’t Run Boston 50K at the Blue Hills Reservation.
Based on her performance at the seventh annual Mt. Tammany 10 on Saturday, March 24, in Delaware Water Gap, N.J., this year will be more of the same from Davis. The 41-year-old resident of Great Barrington, Mass., took on a rugged course that included 10 trips to the summit of Mt. Tammany, amassing more than 10,000 feet of vertical gain during 40 miles of running.
Davis was disciplined and steady throughout, and she capitalized as other runners who started too fast fell by the wayside. She was in 16th overall after the second summit of Mt. Tammany, and she climbed into the overall top 10 by the end of the sixth summit. She steadily picked off more of the men along the way and ultimately placed seventh overall while finishing first among the women in 8:57:32. Davis’ closest competitor, former course record-holder Kathleen Cusick, 42, of Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., finished in 9:41:17.
Davis and Cusick threw down the two fastest times by women in course history as both broke Cusick’s old course record of 9:44:58 from 2016.
Steven Lange was the men’s winner. The 36-year-old from Stanhope, N.J., finished in 7:28:56, four minutes ahead of 28-year-old Jay Lemos of Clifton, N.H. Of the 57 runners who started the race, 34 finished within 12 hours.
Terrapin Mountain 50K
Amy and Brian Rusiecki have been road warriors during the past decade, making regular trips to Virginia to take part in many of ultrarunning legend David Horton’s Beast Series races. The couple from South Deerfield, Mass., were back in the Old Dominion State for another weekend of tough trail running on Saturday, March 24, when they took part in the Terrapin Mountain 50K in Sedalia, Va.
They took on a course that included more than 7,000 feet of climbing while winding through the trails around Terrapin Mountain, Goff Mountain, and White Oak Ridge. Both Rusieckis delivered strong performances.
Amy Rusiecki, 38, earned her second victory of the year in Virginia. After winning the Holiday Lake 50K++ in February, she finished 14th overall and was the women’s champion at Terrapin Mountain in 5:24:58. Her closest competitor, 36-year-old Sheila Vibert of Arlington, Va., finished eight minutes later.
Meanwhile, 39-year-old Brian Rusiecki kicked off his racing year with a third-place finish among the men in 4:34:21. He was two seconds behind runner-up Frank Gonzalez, 41, of Charlottesville, Va. Meanwhile, 29-year-old Nicholas DiPirro of Charlottesville earned the victory in 4:35:54.
There were 168 finishers within the nine-hour time limit.
The Hat Run
At 30 years old, The Hat Run is one of the oldest ultramarathons on the East Coast, and it’s also a popular affair. More than 420 runners shared the starting line for the latest edition of the race on Saturday, March 24, in Havre de Grade, Md. The race took place almost entirely on singletrack trails and dirt roads in Susquehanna State Park and featured multiple loops – first a small 3.6-mile loop followed by a pair of laps around a 13.7-mile loop – and challenged runners with 5,100 feet of climbing.
Six Massachusetts residents were among the 337 finishers within 8 1/2 hours, and the fastest from the Bay State was 35-year-old Niveen Ismail of Florence. She was the 12th-place female finisher and 60th overall in 5:41:00. The fastest Massachusetts man was 49-year-old Jim Diggins of Norwell who was 76th overall in 5:48:03.
The rest of the local finishers were 34-year-old Maddy McCarthy of Newburyport in 5:57:45; 41-year-old Kelly Adams of Hingham in 6:16:56; 41-year-old Sean McCarthy of Newburyport in 6:30:21; and 47-year-old Jeff Downin of Hudson in 7:38:13.
The men’s victory went to Michael Bailey, 26, of Chesapeake, Va., in 3:46:56. He was the lone sub-4-hour finisher. The women’s winner was 38-year-old Dana Kolesar of Media, Pa., who finished in 5:00:47.
Richard DeRose headed outside Massachusetts to take on his first ultramarathon of 2018, but the resident of Dalton, Mass., wasn’t able to escape the snow. The Greenbrier State Park was struck by snowstorms in recent days and weeks, too, and plenty of snow lingered on the trails for the inaugural Greenbrier Ultras on March 23-24 in Boonesboro, Md.
Runners had 100-mile, 50-mile, and 50K distance options and ran on a 5.2-mile loop course that had a little bit of everything – rocky singletrack trail, grass, pavement, and 750 feet of climbing per loop.
Just two of the seven runners who started the 100-mile distance finished, and 48 completed the 50-miler. DeRose was the lone Massachusetts resident in the field at any distance, and the 52-year-old took part in the 50K. That meant he had to circle the loop six times. DeRose finished in 10:37:44. Mark Peters, 29, of Bethesda, Md., was the winner in 5:54:09.
*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.