One thing was certain when runners gathered at the starting line for the Cape Cod Trail Race 50K on Sunday, April 8: the outcome would be different from any of the four prior editions of the race.
Rob Levy and Kara Spera – back-to-back winners in 2016 and 2017 – weren’t in the field this year. Neither were 2015 winners Jake Dissinger and Anne-Marie Monette nor 2014 winners Eric Ahern and Kelly Manchester. That cleared the path for new champions to be crowned.
Fifty-six runners took part in the 50K, which was held at the Crane Wildlife Management Area in Falmouth, Mass. The weather was dry but cold; temperatures lingered in the low 30s throughout the race with occasional gusty wind. Beyond the chilly temperature, the biggest challenge on the dirt 10K loop that runners circled five times was a 140-foot climb that they tackled each trip around the course. Collectively, runners amassed around 2,500 feet of gain for the day.
Of those who started, 51 finished within the eight-hour time limit, including a competitive battle among the women for the podium positions.
The trio of Heather Barackman, Jennifer Rushton and Maria Chevalier were in close contact throughout the race as they outdistanced the rest of the women’s field. Barackman finished third at the race a year ago, and in 2018 she would not be denied. The 43-year-old resident of Woburn, Mass., held off Rushton at the end and won by less than two minutes in a time of 5:21:34. Rushton, 42, of New Bedford, Mass., was the runner-up in 5:23:00, followed seven minutes later by Chevalier, 43, of Cumberland, R.I., in 5:30:03.
Barackman’s time was a 10-minute improvement from 2017 and would have been fast enough to earn the win a year ago.
While the ladies’ race was close, the men’s champion easily outdistanced the field. CT Ransdell, 32, of Boston, Mass., cruised to victory by nearly 21 minutes during his Cape Cod debut, winning in 4:10:39. The race for second and third was much tighter, however.
A trio of other Cape Cod newcomers – 36-year-old Ian Lawson of Nashville, Tenn.; 35-year-old Michael Moran of Natick, Mass.; and 39-year-old Marshall Lovelette of Osterville, Mass. – along with race veteran Quinn Crawford, 27, of Milton, Mass., spent the day in the hunt for the final podium positions. It was a four-man battle for two spots, and less than eight minutes separated them all.
Ultimately, Lawson had enough in the tank to secure second place in 4:31:24, followed shortly after by Moran in third in 4:35:17. Crawford finished fourth for the second year in a row, this time with a time of 4:37:03. Lovelette rounded out the top five less than two minutes later, finishing in 4:38:45.
Notably, 2017 third-place finisher Brendan Chambers, 39, of Taunton, Mass., placed 10th and 2017 runner-up David Diriwachter, 48, of Vineyard Haven, Mass., was 11th in a highly competitive field.
In addition to the 50K, the event also included marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K distances. Thirty-five runners completed the marathon, including men’s winner Zachary Lentsch, 25, of Attleboro, Mass., in 3:44:36, and women’s winner Nicole Negowetti, 37, of Melrose, Mass., in 3:50:29. They were the lone sub-four-hour finishers. There were 123 runners in the half marathon, including men’s winner Colin Baciocco, 19, of Sitka, Alaska, in 1:32:35, and women’s winner Erin Flaherty, 20, of Bonita Springs, Fla., in 1:56:18. There were 117 finishers in the 10K, including men’s winner Caleb Gartner, 15, of Falmouth, Mass., in 41:59, and women’s winner Hillary Sullivan, 27, of Woods Hole, Mass., in 51:56. Additionally, 72 runners finished the 5K, led by men’s winner Henry Gartner, 12, of Falmouth, Mass., in 19:21, and women’s winner Danielle Herschler, 35, of West Barnstable, Mass., in 22:07.
Proceeds from this year’s race will be donated to the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, the Cape & Islands Suicide Prevention Coalition, GreenCAPE, Belonging to Each Other, and the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program.