Two in-state races April 14-15 meant few Massachusetts ultrarunners hit the road for out-of-state ultras, but that didn’t mean every ultrarunner from the Bay State stayed home. A few drove to nearby Connecticut—including South Deerfield’s Brian Rusiecki who defended his title at Traprock, and Northampton’s Jake Dissinger traveled cross-country to take on some of the nation’s best at Lake Sonoma in California. Additionally, we went back and tracked down results from the Beyond Limits Ultra on April 5-8 where Kim Vanyo and Michael Saporito delivered 48 hours of ultrarunning in California. Read on for more details from the Traprock 50K, the Lake Sonoma 50, and the Beyond Limits Ultra in this week’s roundup.
One of the first seasonably warm days of the 2018 racing season greeted runners at the ninth annual Traprock 50K on Saturday, April 14, at Penwood State Park in Bloomfield, Conn., but even if the weather hadn’t cooperated Brian Rusiecki was ready to bring the heat.
The defending champion, Rusiecki made sure his hour-long drive from his home in South Deerfield, Mass., to Bloomfield was worth it. The 39-year-old capitalized on a 70-degree day by cruising in his blue Patagonia singlet. Rusiecki hammered all three 10.5-mile loops of the rocky, technical singletrack and doubletrack, dashed up and down the rolling hills, and easily secured the victory.
Rusiecki’s winning time of 4:58:25 was more than 15 minutes faster than runner-up Koby Nelson, 26, of Newington, Conn., who finished in 5:14:00.
Other top Massachusetts men were 38-year-old Daniel Grip of Millers Falls who finished 20th overall in 6:20:16, and 38-year-old Jason Gray of Northbridge who was 22nd in 6:22:31.
Top honors among the women went to 40-year-old Kristina Folcik of Tamworth, N.H., who cruised to the victory in 5:48:16 and placed seventh overall. Her closest competitor, 28-year-old Michelle Pratt of Albany, N.Y., finished 14 minutes later. Kristen Smith, 32, of Salem was the top Massachusetts finisher among the women. Her time of 6:35:46 earned her fifth place honors.
The Massachusetts contingent was mighty in the 50K field, where 13 of the 68 finishers hailed from the Bay State.
In addition to Rusiecki, Grip, Gray, and Smith, other Massachusetts finishers were Wayne Ball, 43, of Feeding Hills in 7:16:17; Anthony Tieuli, 45, of Northbridge in 7:20:47; Lynn Poyant, 54, of New Bedford in 7:46:47; John Torrone, 41, of Westfield in 7:55:42; Mike Muller, 46, of Holyoke in 8:05:07; Steven Snook, 58, of Shelburne Falls in 8:05:25; Scott Burch, 46, of Belchertown in 8:29:02; Tammy Godin, 54, of North Grafton in 8:53:23; and Gary Richards, 62, of Belmont in 8:58:41.
Runners had 10 hours to finish the race.
Lake Sonoma 50
Since bursting onto the ultrarunning scene in 2014, Jake Dissinger has done most of his racing in New England or the greater Northeast region. In 2017, however, he ventured West for the first time and delivered a strong performance at the highly competitive Gorge Waterfalls 100K in Oregon where he placed 12th out of 206 finishers and faced off with world-class runner Jim Walmsley.
Dissinger, 36, of Northampton, Mass., made another trip to the West on Saturday, April 14, when he traveled to Healdsburg, Calif., for the 11thannual Lake Sonoma 50. The scenic out-and-back 50-mile course wasn’t very technical, but it challenged Dissinger and his fellow runners – including Walmsley – with 10,500 feet of climbing. The biggest attraction to the field of 400 entrants was that the top two men and women would earn Golden Ticket entries into the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run.
Much like at Gorge Waterfalls, Dissinger once again had a stellar day on the West Coast. He finished 31st overall and 26th among the men in a speedy 8:05:35, while sharing the trails with some of the fastest men and women in the United States.
Walmsley, 28, of Flagstaff, Ariz., knocked nine minutes off of his old course-record time along the way to a dominant victory in 5:51:16. Fellow Flagstaff runner Jared Hazen, 22, was a distant second in 6:18:10, followed by 32-year-old Mario Mendoza of Bend, Ore., in 6:25:30. The top seven men all finished in less than seven hours. On the women’s side, 25-year-old Keely Henninger of Portland, Ore., won by more than a half-hour. Her time of 7:13:55 was the second-fastest in course history behind the 7:08:23 turned in by Stephanie Howe Violett in 2015.
Runners had 14 hours to complete the race, and 286 did so within the time limit.
Beyond Limits Ultra
One of the largest ultrarunning parties in the West included a pair from Massachusetts.
Kim Vanyo of Winchester and Michael Saporito of Peabody both took part in the 48-hour race at the sixth annual Beyond Limits Ultra Festival, which took place April 5-6 at Pathfinder ranch in Mountain Center, Calif.
Regardless of distance- or time-based competition, all runners took on a two-mile dirt loop through the ranch. For Vanyo, 54, that meant 50 trips around the loop during her two-day trek as she completed 100 miles. She was one of 23 runners in the 48-hour event to reach or surpass the century mark.
Saporito, 52, finished his weekend with 60 miles.
Brent Jackson, 39, of San Diego, Calif., logged the most miles of any runner in the 48-hour event with 174, while 35-year-old Jessica Hardy of Dana Point, Calif., was the women’s winner and third overall with 144 miles.
Vanyo will spent plenty more time in California this year. She is registered for Western States Training Camp in May, will race the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in June, and then take a second crack at the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run in September.
Vanyo and Saporito were the lone Bay State residents to take part in the Beyond Limits Ultra Festival. Other distance offerings included a 72-hour race, a 24-hour race, 100-mile and 50-mile races, and a 50K.
*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.