Out-of-state ultramarathons attracted runners from the Bay State to the trails of Virginia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Arizona during the Oct. 13-14 weekend, and Salem’s Kristen Smith and Medford’s Kara Olivito highlighted the weekend races with their 103-mile journey together on the tough trails of Virginia, climbing more than 26,000 feet on their way to finishing the notoriously tough Cloudsplitter 100. That race, as well as the Big Brad Ultras, Water Gap 50K, Indian Creek Fifties, and the Canyon De Chelly 55K are featured in this week’s roundup.
Kristen Smith and Kara Olivito are accomplished ultrarunners and endurance hikers, having trekked numerous long-distance trails and won ultramarathons. They teamed up to put their running and hiking skills to the test at the fifth annual Cloudsplitter 100 on Oct. 13-14 in Norton, Va.
One of the toughest 100-milers in the eastern United States, Cloudsplitter starts and finishes at the Norton Farmers’ Market. In between, runners travel a giant loop course through the Cumberland Mountains, navigating steep, technical climbs while surrounded by cliffs, waterfalls, and lush forest. Along the way they covered 103 miles and climbed more than 26,000 feet. Smith, 33, of Salem, Mass., and Olivito, 36, of Medford, Mass., completed the course together and were among the 41 runners to finish within the 40-hour time limit.
Smith and Olivito raced together and finished together, crossing the finish line as the fourth- and fifth-place women. Smith posted a time of 32:30:00, and Olivito finished a stride behind her in 32:30:01. They were the 19th and 20th overall finishers.
Only two runners – 41-year-old Hernane Alves of Buckingham, Va., and 33-year-old Hannes Gehring of Colorado – finished in less than 24 hours. Alves was the men’s winner in 22:13:20, and Gehring finished in 22:31:12. Alyson Kirk, 35, of Morrison, Colo, was the women’s winner in 27:20:25, followed by 29-year-old Alex Borsuk of Portland, Ore., in 27:42:19.
Big Brad Ultras
The 50-mile race at the Big Brad Ultras is known as “The Punisher” for a reason: it’s darn tough. The course features more than 7,500 feet of climbing on technical trails, and runners have just 12 1/2 hours to complete the three 15.5-mile loops and bonus 3.5-mile mini loop.
Twenty-seven runners started the 50-miler at the seventh annual race on Sunday, Oct. 14, at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, Maine. Just 15 finished.
Beau Langevin, 39, of Biddeford, Maine, earned his third straight win in the 50-miler, posting a time of 8:50:11 while holding off runner-up Brian Pitreau, 37, of Falmouth, Maine, by eight minutes. Gnarls Barclay, 43, of Falmouth, Maine, was the women’s winner in 9:49:15.
Frank Corrao, 41, of Franklin, Mass., placed seventh overall in 11:10:00. It was his second 50-miler of the year. He finished the North Face 50-miler at Wachusett Mountain in June in 12:36:58. Additionally, Mariya Michniewicz, 50, of Harwich, finished the Punisher in 12:09:08. It was her first time taking on the 50-miler; she previously ran the Big Brad 50K in 2016.
Forty-eight runners tackled two loops of the course for 4,500 feet of climbing and 50K of distance. Thirty-nine ultimately completed the race, and 26-year-old Greg Johnson of Dillsburg, Pa., did so in a course-record time of 4:16:00. Johnson outdistanced his closest competitor by 28 minutes.
Ian Wright, 32, of Lawrence, Mass., was the top Bay State finisher as he placed sixth overall in 4:56:06.
Karen Fogg, 51, of York, Maine, won the women’s race in 6:12:53. Carly Tucker, 25, of Cambridge, Mass., placed fourth in the women’s field in 6:42:21.
Two more Massachusetts residents – Rob Gallagher and Joanne Phalon – also finished the 50K. Gallagher, 37, of Scituate, finished in 7:02:31, while Phalon, 63, of Essex, turned in a time of 7:33:22.
Water Gap 50K
Just 76 seconds separated Kehr Davis from a victory at the fourth annual Water Gap 50K on Sunday, Oct. 14, in Milford, Pa. Davis, 41, of Pittsfield, Mass., dueled with Amelia Kaufman throughout the race on the point-to-point course along the 32-mile McDade Trail traversing the Delaware Gap. Ultimately it was Kaufman, 24, of Ithaca, N.Y., who secured the women’s win and finished fifth overall in 4:15:47. Davis followed close behind, placing second in the women’s field and sixth overall in 4:17:03.
Michael Heimes, 40, of Reading, Pa., was the men’s winner in 3:22:11, a time that secured the second-place spot on the men’s course record board. Kaufman posted the second-best time on the women’s record board and Davis secured the third spot.
Another Massachusetts resident, 39-year-old Dennis Penna of Pittsfield, joined Davis in finishing the race. Penna finished in 6:54:12. A total of 118 runners finished the race within eight and a half hours.
Indian Creek Fifties
Erik Hinrichsen was the lone New Englander to take part in the fifth annual Indian Creek Fifties on Saturday, Oct. 13, in Sedalia, Colo. Hinrichsen, 29, of Newton, Mass., finished 14th overall and 11th among the men in the 50K race, clocking a time of 6:14:05.
Darren Thomas, 24, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was the fastest runner to complete the trail course and its 8,100 feet of vertical gain. Thomas earned the win by 20 minutes with a time of 4:53:33. Eighty-nine runners finished the race within 11 hours.
The 50-mile race had more than 12,000 feet of climbing. Thirty-six runners completed that distance, although none were from New England. John Herrick, 27, of Boulder, Colo., won the 50-miler in 9:14:35.
Canyon de Chelly Ultra
Melissa Tracey secured a hard-earned finish at the highly scenic Canyon De Chelly Ultra on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Navajo Reservation in Arizona. Tracey, 63, of Harvard, Mass., took on the out-and-back course through the Canyon De Chelly and completed the 55K race in 10:23:29.
Dustin Martin, 29, of Albuquerque, N.M., was the men’s winner in 4:19:22, and Rosemarie Gerspacher, 42, of Calgary, Alberta, was the women’s winner in 5:18:14.
*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.