The weather presented some unforgiving conditions for runners at Northeast Race Management, LLC’s inaugural East End Trail Races on Sunday, Aug. 5, at Borderland State Park in Easton, Mass.
More than 135 runners took part in the event, which offered three distances to runners, including a 50K ultramarathon. That race had the smallest field with just 17 runners taking on the challenge on a day where the humidity was high and the temperature climbed to 90 degrees.
Of the 17 who started the race, 13 would ultimately finish – with one being disqualified for apparently cutting the course (Editor’s Note: This is discussed in depth in a separate story).
“It was one hot and humid day,” the race director said. “It’s a beautiful park and a challenging course, and there were tough, tough weather conditions. Not everyone was able to finish, but my hat’s off to those that were. They really gritted it out.”
The course consisted of five 6.7-mile loops, so it was a “heavy” 50K at 33.5 miles. Michael Waugh set the pace on the opening loop, completing his first trip around the course in 1:00:28. Charn McAllister followed three minutes later, but it wasn’t long before McAllister, 35, of Norfolk, Mass., moved to the front of the pack. He took over as the frontrunner during the second loop and never looked back.
McAllister ran steady splits through his first three loops (1:03:17; 1:04:30; 1:06:46) before fading a bit as the miles added up and the heat climbed. He was always in control, however.
McAllister’s closest competitor turned out to be Billy Jenkins. The 30-year-old resident of Malden, Mass., never threatened McAllister’s lead, but he ran a disciplined race and gradually picked off runners as the day went on. He moved into second place during his third lap of the course and never relinquished that spot. Cliff Buckley ran a similar race. Buckley, 45, of Plymouth, Mass., was in sixth after the first lap and slowly worked his way through the field and into the top three.
McAllister won the race in 6:01:18, followed by Jenkins in 6:35:31 and Buckley in 6:45:19.
The runner disqualification threw a wrench into the women’s standings for a few days, but ultimately it was determined that 22-year-old Polina Lepniakova of Ottawa, Ontario, earned the victory while also placing fourth overall in 6:48:22. She ran a similar race to Buckley as both were within a few minutes of each other at every checkpoint before swapping places during the final lap.
Gail Martin, 53, of Sharon, Mass., was the women’s runner-up in 7:50:21. She and her husband, 58-year-old David Martin, ran the race side by side.
In addition to the ultramarathon, two shorter distances were also offered. Forty-four runners finished the 30K race, led by 21-year-old Patrick Caron of Needham, Mass., who hammered the course in 2:09:17, winning the race outright with a 26-minute cushion on his closest competitor, 43-year-old J. Morgan Stanwood of South Hamilton, Mass. Karly Moore, 25, of Brighton, Mass., won the women’s race in 3:14:56, holding off 42-year of Jennifer Rushton of New Bedford, Mass., by five minutes. Additionally, 74 runners finished the 10K race with 29-year-old Scott Vendermolen of Southborough, Mass., earning the men’s victory in 43:39 and 45-year-old Christell Baum of Dallas, Texas, securing the women’s win in 54:07.