Winter has settled in on New England and the greater Northeast in recent weeks. That didn’t slow down Michael Condella as the Revere resident conquered the cold and turned in a runner-up finish at the Beast of Burden 100-miler in nearby New York. Other ultrarunners sought out the warmer climate of Florida, Nevada, and Arizona, led by Northampton’s Jake Dissinger who hammered a top-20 effort in a field of more than 600 runners at the Black Canyon 100K. Those performance provided some extra heat during the winter running season, and they highlight this week’s roundup.
Beast of Burden – Winter Edition
Michael Condella has turned into a local at the Beast of Burden Winter Ultra, and his top performance came in his latest effort. Condella, 31, of Revere, Mass., earned his fourth finish of the 100-mile race in the past five years when he took part in the 11th annual event on Feb. 16-17 in Lockport, N.Y.
The race takes place on the Erie Canal Towpath with runners going 12.5 miles out and 12.5 miles back. Runners in the 100-miler must complete the journey four times within the 30-hour time limit. Just 25 did so this year, and Condella was once again among them. He couldn’t keep up with 31-year-old professional runner Pete Kostelnick of Brunswick, Ohio, who won the race in 16:28:39, but the Hoka standout was the only athlete to finish faster than Condella. He earned his highest finish yet at the race, placing second overall in 22:46:36.
One more New Englander finished the race. Jared Buchanan, 29, of Ellington, Conn., placed sixth overall in 25:48:32.
Another 39 runners completed two out-and-backs of the course for the 50-mile race. Blake Williams, 33, of Great Barrington, Mass., was the runner-up in 7:10:09, trailing only race winner Jeffrey Adams, 40, of Buffalo, N.Y., who posted a winning time of 6:15:30. Josh Hanley, 30, of Stamford, Conn., rounded out the men’s podium in 7:53:47. Kiel Omerod, 33, of Medford, Mass., cracked the top 10, placing sixth in 9:10:11.
Six more New Englanders also finished the 50-miler. They were Miles Veney, 22, of Amherst, Mass., in 10:04:03; Kathryn Stoker, 51, of Norwalk, Conn., in 10:09:20; Jason Girouard, 23, of Brimfield, Mass., in 11:01:44; Adam Ladd, 23, of Amherst, Mass., in 11:01:52; Justin Fitzgerald, 35, of Malden, Mass., in 11:53:13; and Heather Wiatrowski, 43, of Auburn, Mass., in 12:10:54.
After back-to-back top-10 finishes at the Vermont 100 in 2016 and 2017 — years where he also delivered strong performances at major West Coast races, the Gorge Waterfalls 100K and Lake Sonoma 50 — Jake Dissinger took a step back from serious racing in 2018.
Dissinger was back in action at a big race to kick off 2019 when the 37-year-old from Northampton, Mass., stepped to the starting line of the Black Canyon 100K, a point-to-point race in Mayer, Ariz.
The stakes were high at the race. More than 600 runners toed the starting line with Western States Golden Tickets at stake for the top two men and top two women finishers. Dissinger didn’t capture one of the coveted tickets, but he was among the fastest runners in the field.
Out of 605 starters, 515 runners finished within 19 hours. Dissinger placed 18th overall and 16th in the men’s field, finishing in a speedy 8:54:17. The Golden Tickets went to 30-year-old Matt Daniels and 32-year-old Chris Mocko, both of Boulder, Colo. Daniels won the race in 7:20:28 followed by Mocko in 7:45:59. Mocko previously earned a Golden Ticket at the Bandera 100K, so his ticket transferred down to third-place finisher Eric Senseman, 29, of Flagstaff, Ariz., who finished in 7:46:19.
The women’s Golden Tickets went to Kaci Lickteig, 32, of Omaha, Neb., who was 10th overall in 8:38:38, and Yiou Wang, 33, of San Anselmo, Calif., who was 16th overall in 8:48:26. Riley Brady, 23, of Burlington, Vt., was the top New England woman in the field. She finished 53rd overall and was the fifth-place female in 10:14:19.
Other New England finishers were 41-year-old Douglas Hall of Belmont, Mass., in 11:30:03 and 31-year-old Dylan Brann of Bar Harbor, Maine, in 13:17:32.
Jackpot Ultra Running Festival
They weren’t quite running under the Las Vegas lights, but they weren’t too far away. That was some of the allure of the sixth annual Jackpot Ultra Running Festival on Feb. 15-17 at Cornerstone Park in Henderson, Nev., just a few miles from the Vegas Strip. Runners ventured to the event to take on a variety of distance challenges, from 100- and 50-mile offerings, to 48-, 24-, 12, and 6-hour ultras on a 2.5-mile loop course consisting of a mix of asphalt and crushed gravel.
A handful of New Englanders made the journey West for the event and took part in the 48-, 24- and 12-hour time-based events. The region’s runners shined brightest in the 24-hour race, led by 27-year-old Allson Fitch-Molony. The Boston resident was the women’s runner-up and seventh overall finisher with 76.5 miles completed for the day. Cory Kind, 28, of Arlington, Va., led the ladies’ field with 88.5 miles and 39-year-old Chris Pope of West Valley City, Utah, was the top male with 130 miles. Two more New Englanders were among the 39 finishers. Aliza Mon, 45, of Quincy, Mass., completed 45 miles and 83-year-old Eugene Defronzo of Cheshire, Conn., completed 27.5 miles.
In the 12-hour race, Keith Koslowski of Hanover, Mass., was one of 32 runners to finish the race. Koslowski, 35, completed 39.5 miles during the time limit while 31-year-old Tyler Nash of Boulder City, Nev., led all runners with 77 miles.
Meanwhile, two more New Englanders turned in triple-digit mileage performances in the 48-hour race. Tek Ung, 37, of Cranston, R.I., finished ninth overall out of 77 finishers with 130 miles, and 67-year-old Ed Peters of Norwalk, Conn., completed 100 miles.
Molly Lovell made 2019 the year she became an ultrarunner. Lovell, 27, of Amesbury, Mass., took part in the eighth annual Mid-Maryland Ultra 50K on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Elkridge, Md. She took on a course that consisted of five trips around a 10K trail loop, and she ultimately finished in 7:55:35.
Eighty-two runners finished the race, led by men’s winner Wyatt Massey, 25, of Frederick, Md., in 4:08:55, and women’s winner Anna Muench, 37, of Columbia, Md., in 4:49:09.
While winter weather is engulfing New England, Lee Dickey of Danvers, Mass., opted to open his 2019 ultrarunning season in the warmer weather of Florida. He took part in the 50-mile race at the Iron Horse Ultras on Saturday, Feb. 8, in Florahomen, Fla.
Dickey, 65, completed the 25-mile out-and-back course on a rail trail in 14:00:07. He was one of 26 runners to finish the race. Ramon Palomo, 37, of Miami, Fla., won the 50-miler in 7:23:15.
In addition to the 50-mile race, another 23 runners completed 100K and eight runners earned 100-mile finishes. None of the runners at those distances were from New England.
*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.