MassUltra Roundup: San Diego 50, Steep Ravine, Avalon, and Recover from the Holidays

The cold of winter is starting to unleash its bite in the Northeast. That hasn’t stopped ultrarunners from Massachusetts and greater New England from taking to the trails. One must look no further than Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, Mass., where the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K took place last weekend (separate story in the works). Another local runner traveled to nearby New York on Sunday to run in the annual Recover from the Holidays 50K. Several more runners from the Bay State sought out warmer weather by flying west to California where they took part in a trio of ultras: the San Diego 50, the Steep Ravine 50K, and the Avalon Benefit 50-miler. From the Empire State to the Golden State, we have those races covered in this week’s roundup.

San Diego 50

The field of 179 finishers at the seventh annual San Diego 50 was jam-packed with locals on Saturday, Jan. 12, in Escondido, Calif, but a pair of Massachusetts made sure the East Coast presence was felt in the 50-mile footrace.

Dylan Gschwind and Annie Taylor, both of Boston, earned top-10 finishes. Gschwind, 27, was the ninth-place men’s finisher and 10th overall finisher in 8:04:14. Taylor, 26, tied Gschwind for 10th overall and was the women’s runner-up with her matching mark of 8:04:14.

The fast times came on a course that consisted of a mixture of singletrack and doubletrack trails, as well as fire roads and a little bit of pavement at the San Dieguito River Park.

Travis Dietrich, 37, of San Marcos, Calif., brought home the men’s win in 6:44:20 while Nicole Judd, 31, of Temecula, Calif., was the women’s winner in 8:03:32.

Steep Ravine

Two New Englanders took part in the ninth annual Steep Ravine 50K on Saturday, Jan. 12, in Stinson Beach, Calif. One of them brought home the overall win.

Vincent Dimassa, 25, of New Haven, Conn., hammered the course and posted a winning time of 4:10:02. Runner-up Bob Shebest, 44, of Windsor, Calif., was a distant second in 4:43:59. Dimassa and Shebest were the only runners to break the five-hour mark.
Seng-Lai Tan of Sudbury, Mass., finished 27th in 7:52:14. Thirty runners finished the race within eight hours.

Avalon Benefit 50

The Avalon Benefit 50 has been raising money for the local Lions Club for 38 years while challenging runners with a two-legged tour of Catalina Island. The latest edition of the event took place Saturday, Jan. 12, in Avalon, Calif. Two New Englanders – both from Massachusetts – were among the 227 runners to complete the event’s signature distance.
John Sangiolo, 54, of Weston, and Anton Smith, 41, of New Bedford, both finished. Sangiolo placed 63rd overall in 9:18:05 and Smith was 118th in 10:30:44. Runners had 14 hours to complete the race.

Michael Eastburn, 29, of Porter Ranch, Calif., was the men’s winner by a 10-minute margin in 6:17:01. Katherine Weiss, 39, of Fallbrook, Calif., finished 12th overall and was the women’s winner in 7:44:43.

In addition to the 50-miler, another 276 runners finished a 50K race. No New Englanders competed at that distance.

MHRRC Recover from the Holidays 50K

The Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club played host to its Recover from the Holidays 50K on Sunday, Jan. 13, in Staatsburg, N.Y. Runners were challenged to complete 10 loops around a 5K course at Norrie Point State Park. Ultimately, 10 were up to the challenge. Justin Kousky, 38, of Westport, Conn., finished the fastest with his winning time of 4:11:50. The only other non-New Yorker to finish was Allison Lassoe of Sheffield, Mass. Lassoe, 56, finished her 50K in 5:57:06. Kousky most recently raced at the TARC Fells Winter Ultra in December when he earned a top-10 finish. Lassoe’s most recent race was a seventh-place finish at Seth’s Fat Ass 50K in Springfield in December.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including, 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.

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