May 12-13 was a busy weekend for in-state races with Wapack and Back and the G.A.C. Mother’s Day 6-Hour Run, but that didn’t mean it was a quiet weekend for ultrarunners hitting the road beyond the Bay State. From nearby Manchester 2 Monadnock in New Hampshire and the Riverlands 100 in Maine, to races in the heartland and the west, the ultramarathon season continues to ramp up as summer nears.
Manchester 2 Monadnock
The Manchester 2 Monadnock 55-miler throws a little bit of everything at its runners: singletrack trails, dirt roads, boulders to scramble over, and plenty of pavement to beat up the body as runners make their way from Manchester, N.H., to Monadnock State Park.
The race challenged runners for the fourth year in a row on Saturday, May 12, and the 2018 edition offered the added obstacles of cold and rainy weather.
Of the 36 runners who started the race at 4 a.m., 30 overcame the course and the conditions to reach the finish line. Christopher Barry got there first. The 38-year-old resident of Keene, N.H., was the lone finisher in less than 10 hours, winning in 9:58:35. His performance was the seventh-best on the men’s record board.
Not far behind Barry was women’s winner and second overall finisher Deirdre Lowe. The 38-year-old from Salem, Mass., threw down a strong performance in her debut performance on the course. She didn’t quite match Jenny Hoffman’s women’s course record of 9:55:27 from 2017, but Lowe delivered the second-best mark on the record board with her time of 10:12:16. Actually, the third- and fourth-fastest times on the women’s record board were also established as Hong De Sa, 26, of Stroudsburg, Pa., finished second in 10:37:57, and Kara Spera Olivito, 35, of Medford, Mass., finished third among the women and 10th overall in 10:48:07.
Daniel Larson, 42, of Cambridge, Mass., was the men’s runner-up and third overall finisher in 10:18:12, and 27-year-old Tyler Kuntz of East Wakefield, N.H., rounded out the men’s podium in 10:24:06.
Two more Massachusetts men joined Larson in the overall top 10. Jay Doubman, 46, of Winchester, Mass., was the sixth overall finisher and fifth man in 10:36:06. Meanwhile, in his first race at 50 miles or farther, Jeff LeBlanc, 31, of Woburn, Mass., was the eighth overall finisher and sixth man in 10:41:39.
Other Massachusetts residents who finished were Greg Stone, 59, of Falmouth in 10:52:55; Jeff Dixon, 52, of North Attleboro in 14:11:25; Jen Bergstrom, 37, of Woburn in 16:11:30; Frank Judge, 48, of Scituate in 16:11:47; and Ilya Bass, 44, of Weston in 16:43:26.
Ultra Race of Champions
After a few years out west, the Ultra Race of Champions returned to its roots on the East Coast in 2017 when runners descended on Skylark, Va., to tackle the tough terrain that the region is known for. UROC stayed in Virginia again in 2018, and runners once again returned to Skylark to race through the Blue Ridge Mountains on Saturday, May 21, against a talented field of runners from across the country.
The 100K is the event’s signature distance, and the day proved daunting enough that numerous runners dropped along the way to the finish line. Greg Soutiea was not among them, however. The 34-year-old resident of Quincy, Mass., delivered a strong performance that landed him in the top 10 overall. Soutiea cruised through the 63.5-mile course and its 12,000 feet of climbing and earned a ninth-place overall finish in 12:31:51 – just one second behind eighth-place finisher Jim Sweeney, 36, of Albany, N.Y.
Of the 44 runners who finished the race within the 19 1/2-hour time limit, just 12 did so in less than 13 hours – the top seven men and top five women. That included men’s winner Tyler Sigl, 32, of Seymour, Wisc., who finished in 10:08:24, and women’s winner Amanda Basham, 28, of North Logan, Utah, who was third overall in 10:40:55. For Basham, it was her second straight victory at UROC.
Meanwhile, another 58 runners finished the “heavy” 50K race – 34.3 miles – within the 10-hour time limit, conquering 5,500 feet of climbing along the way to Skylark Nature Preserve and Lodge. Daniel Long was the lone Massachusetts resident in the field, and he placed eighth overall – sixth among the men – in 6:41:25.
The second annual Riverlands 100 looked mighty similar to the first, at least in terms of the course and the winners. The race, which took place on May 12-13 at Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, Maine, required runners to once again complete five out-and-backs on ATV trail through the park.
Just like in 2017 when Beau Langevin of Biddeford, Maine, and Laura Perry of Orleans, Ontario, swept the men’s and women’s victories, they were again the champions in 2018. Langevin, 38, finished in 19:02:42, outdistancing the rest of the field by nearly two and a half hours. Perry, 37, was the women’s winner and fifth overall finisher in 23:16:41.
Of the 53 starters, 29 runners finished the race within the 32-hour time limit. That included two Massachusetts residents. James Gawle, 66, of Webster finished 20th overall in 28:27:52. Additionally, 57-year-old Andover resident Nate Combs finished in 30:04:45. Both Gawle and Combs also finished Riverlands in 2017.
Dawn to Dusk to Dawn
Padraig Mullins is no stranger to the Dawn to Dusk to Dawn Ultras. The event limits its field to 70 participants between the 24-hour, 12-hour and 50K options, and Mullins has been a part of the close-knit event multiple times.
He made his third trip to the event May 12-13 where he once again set out to see how many times he could circle the track at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, Pa., within 24 hours.
In 2015, Mullins finished fifth overall with 133.20 miles. In 2016, he completed 100.16 miles and placed 15th. After a year away, Mullins returned last weekend and put forth a strong effort in challenging conditions. Beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, he raced through temperatures in the 70s with thick humidity. Then, as the overnight hours arrived Mullins and his fellow 24-hour runners were pummeled by a heavy downpour. As the morning sun rose, Mullins completed his final trips around the track, stopping after 23 hours and 57 minutes. The 36-year-old resident of Cambridge, Mass., finished his race with 132.7159 miles – easily outdistancing the field to secure a first-place finish.
Mullins’ closest competitor was 48-year-old Adrian Stanciu of Manitou Springs, Colo., who completed 116.5692 miles. Emily Collins, 39, of Akron, Ohio, finished third overall and was the first-place woman with 113.3381 miles. Of the 38 runners who raced the 24-hour event, Mullins was the lone New England resident. Ten runners completed at least 100 miles.
Mullins’ busy racing season continues with goal races in August at the Ute 100 in Utah and the Big Backyard Ultra last man standing event in Tennessee in October.
In addition to the 24-hour race, 16 runners completed the 12-hour race and 15 runners finished the 50K on the track. Representing New England in those events were 57-year-old Brian Teason of Manchester, Vt., who logged 31.3171 miles in the 12-hour event, and 61-year-old New Hampshire resident Laurel Flax who finished the 50K race in 10:44:37.
A year after running the Quicksilver 100K, Aaron Keene wanted a second crack at the course. The 38-year-old resident of Easthampton, Mass., traveled cross-country again to tackle the tough West Coast race. His journey paid off when he once again completed the race on Saturday, May 12, at Almanden Quicksilver Park in San Jose, Calif.
The 34th annual event once again featured spectacular views of the Santa Cruz Mountains as runners raced up and down the singletrack trails and fire roads. They were challenged with 15,000 feet of climbing along the way.
Keene was one of 168 runners to finish the race within the 17-hour time limit. He was also the only New Englander to take part. He placed 104th overall in 15:19:16. His time in 2017 was 13:35:29.
Ben Eysenbach, 23, of Palo Alto, Calif., dominated the field among the men, winning in 9:53:20. Only three runners finished in less than 11 hours, and only 13 finished sub-12. Among them was defending Western States champion and women’s winner Cat Bradley, 26, of Boulder, Colo., in 11:15:00.
In addition to the 100K, an additional 176 runners completed Quicksilver’s 50K race within 12 hours.
Ice Age 50
After two straight years of strong races at the Manchester 2 Monadnock 55-miler, Kelly Facteau opted for a new challenge on the same weekend. Facteau, 47, of Siasconset, Mass., traveled to LaGrange, Wisc., to take on the 50-mile race on the classic Ice Age 50 course.
Facteau had a good day, placing 119th out of 325 finishers. Her time of 10:13:31 landed her 19th among 99 women in the field.
A pair of men outpaced the field and completed the race in less than seven hours, with 34-year-old Jeff Friedman of Dubuque, Iowa, taking the overall victory in 6:47:09 and 36-year-old Jacob Lawrence of St. Paul, Minn., following 10 minutes later in 6:57:11. Jessa Hackman, 26, of Madison, Wisc., took the top spot for the women and finished sixth overall in 7:29:31.
In addition to the 50-miler, runners had a 50K option. That race had 198 finishers within nine hours. None hailed from Massachusetts.
*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.