Who didn’t run 100 miles last weekend? When it came to the Massachusetts ultrarunning community, Oct. 5-7 was one of the biggest weekends of the year for 100-milers not involving the popular and nearby Vermont 100 or Ghost Train. Bay State residents traveled to five out-of-state 100s and brought home finisher’s belt buckles. The largest contingent traveled to Virginia for the difficult Grindstone 100, where Woburn resident Samantha LeBlanc snagged a spot on the women’s podium. Additionally, Boston’s William Hafferty gutted out a finish at the tough Bromont 100 in Canada, while others finished the Tesla Hertz 100 in New York, the Hennepin Hundred in Illinois, and the Oil Creek 100 in Pennsylvania. We have them all covered in this week’s 100-mile-specific roundup.
Samantha LeBlanc spent all year preparing for her first 100-mile race.
The 30-year-old resident of Woburn, Mass., has been a force at trail ultras since making her debut at the 2015 Fells Winter Ultra where she was the fourth woman and seventh overall finisher of the 40-mile race on rugged Massachusetts trails. She has podiumed numerous times in the years since, and her 2018 resume was spotless with wins at the Don’t Run Boston 50K and the Wapack and Back 50-miler, as well as the overall win at the Free to Run Trail Marathon in mid-September. All of that prepared LeBlanc for Oct. 5-6 when she stepped to the starting line of the Grindstone 100 in Swoope, Va., to demand that her legs cover more ground than ever before – specifically, 101.85 miles while collecting 23,000 feet of vertical gain on the out-and-back course in the Shenandoah Mountains.
LeBlanc was up to the task. Her unbeaten streak was snapped, however she still secured a spot on the podium with an impressive performance during an unusually hot year by Grindstone standards. LeBlanc was the 18th overall finisher and third-place woman in 24:15:26. Shannon Howell, 40, of Simpsonville, S.C., placed eighth overall and was the women’s winner with a new course-record time of 22:22:38. Justyna Wilson, 43, of Fairless Hills, Pa., was the runner-up in 23:23:58.
Michael Owen, 29, of Pomeroy, Ohio, was the overall winner by more than two hours with a time of 20:08:28. He previously raced Grindstone in 2014 and finished third (19:32:26).
LeBlanc was the lone woman from the Bay State to complete this year’s race. Additionally, six Massachusetts men finished within the 38-hour time limit. Jack Bailey led the way. The 39-year-old Medway resident placed 42nd overall in 27:12:44. Additionally, 40-year-old Tim Finocchio of Holbrook earned his second Grindstone finish, placing 49th in 27:37:15 (finished 19th in 2012 in 25:52:59); 39-year-old Robert Froelich of Bedford earned his first Grindstone finish in 31:23:13; Harry Mattison, 45, of Allston finished Grindstone for the first time in 31:37:31; 41-year-old Christopher Agbay of Jefferson collected his sixth Grindstone belt buckle in 36:40:08; and 47-year-old Michael Barrett of Arlington completed his inaugural Grindstone in 36:40:14.
William Hafferty opened the 2018 ultrarunning season with a win at the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass in Barnstable, Mass. He followed it up with strong showings at the Black Canyon 100K in Arizona, the Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50-miler in Connecticut, and the Bear Mountain 50-miler in New York, as well as a hard-earned finish at the 127K Wicklow Way Race in Ireland.
With all of that under his belt, Hafferty was well-prepared for his toughest challenge of 2018: the Bromont Ultra 100-miler. The course included more than 21,000 feet of climbing.
Hafferty, 30, of Boston, Mass., was among the 48 runners to successfully complete the race within 35 hours on Oct. 6-7 in Bromont, Quebec. Hafferty placed 27th overall in 30:04:32. Canadian Jean-Francois Cauchon, 25, won the race in 19:46:49. He finished four hours ahead of runner-up Sylvain Lavoie, 40.
Tesla Hertz 100
Six runners finished the sixth annual Tesla Hertz 100-miler on Oct. 6-7 in Rocky Point, N.Y., and one of them hailed from Massachusetts.
Kevin Maier, 34, of Bolton, Mass., was the lone Bay State resident to complete the race that took place on a 10.4-mile loop course on the Long Island Greenbelt. Maier finished fourth in 25:09:37. Ryan Jones, 39, of Morrisville, Pa., was the winner by a two-hour margin in 20:45:11. Kelly Gillen, 36, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was the third overall finisher and lone woman to complete the race.
The race was Maier’s first 100-miler. He knocked out his first 100K in August at the Green Lakes Endurance Runs in Fayetteville, N.Y.
In addition to the 100-miler, Tesla Hertz also offered 100K, 50-mile and 50K races.
A pair of Massachusetts residents earned their first 100-mile finishes Oct. 6-7 at the fourth annual Hennepin Hundred. The race took place on the 104-mile Hennepin Canal State Trail, a flat and fast trail starting in Sterling, Ill., and finishing in Colona, Ill.
Jenn Miola, 44, of Lunenburg, Mass., finished 75th overall in 28:30:11. Skott Daltonic, 47, of Allston, Mass., earned his finisher’s buckle about an hour later when he crossed the finish line in 29:24:16.
Jim Sweeney, 37, of Albany, N.Y., brought home the overall win with a course-record time of 13:09:32. He won the race by more than three hours. Angela Freedman, 43, of McFarland, Wisc., was the top woman in a close race, winning the women’s field by five minutes in 19:29:41 while placing eighth overall.
While the 100-miler was the main event, runners also could choose from 50-mile and 50K races. Tamara Galloway, 56, and Terry Austin, 57, both of Norwood, Mass., ran the 50K together. Galloway finished in 12:06:40, and Austin finished one second later.
Oil Creek 100
Daniel Gulas overcame 18,000 feet of climbing on the trails of Titusville, Pa., on Oct. 6-7, and the reward for his effort was a belt buckle for finishing the Oil Creek 100-miler.
Gulas, 41, of Belmont, Mass., was one of 70 runners to complete the race within 32 hours. He placed 42ndoverall in 29:59:40. Andrew Simpson, 30, of York, Pa., won the race by more than two hours with a time of 19:23:44.
*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.