A pair of Massachusetts ultrarunners – South Deerfield’s Brian Rusiecki and Boston’s Kevin Koncilja – kicked of their 2019 seasons with runner-up finishes last weekend, Rusiecki at the Mt. Tammany 10! in New Jersey and Koncilja at the Get Lucky 50/50 in Ohio. Meanwhile, Framingham’s Art Beauregard earned his first 100-mile finish at the Antelope Island Buffalo Run in Utah. Additionally, we tracked down a few local runners’ performances March 16 at the Badwater: Cape Fear Ultras in North Carolina. Those four races are featured in this week’s roundup.
Mt. Tammany 10!
It has become an annual tradition that Brian Rusiecki races his way into race shape each ultramarathon season with a busy slate of races in late March and early April in order to be in prime shape for the summer.
The tradition continues in 2019. Rusiecki kicked off the year with his first trip to the Mt. Tammany 10!, a rugged 40-mile trail ultra on Saturday, March 23, at the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey. The race challenges runners with 10 passes through the course on the trails on and around Mt. Tammany, 10 trips to the summit, more than 10,000 feet of total climbing, and a 10-hour time limit to get it all done.
Rusiecki was in sixth after two trips through the course, but he remained consistent as other runners fell by the wayside. He’d surged into second place by the time he was through six laps, and he held his ground the rest of the way, finishing as the runner-up in 7:55:18. Rusiecki’s time was the eighth-fastest in course history. Jay Lemos, 29, of Clifton, N.J., led the race from start to finish and won with a time of 7:38:52, the fifth-best time in course history. Lemos was the runner-up in 2018, 2017 and 2015, and he finished third at the 2016 race.
Mendy Gallo, 42, of Kingston, N.Y., was the women’s champion and 11th overall finisher in 9:18:13.
Of the 61 runners who started the race, just 31 completed the distance with 17 doing so within the 10-hour target mark. Three other New Englanders joined Rusiecki among the finishers. Ed Cullen, 31, of Rumford, R.I., finished fifth overall in 8:40:26; Kaylo Littlejohn, 21, of Camden, Maine, was 26th in 11:16:10; and TJ Theis, 30, of Arlington, Mass., finished 28th in 11:55:22.
Get Lucky 50/50
After making his ultrarunning debut in 2018 at the North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler at Wachusett Mountain, Kevin Koncilja selected a first-time event for his second ultra.
Koncilja, 29, of Boston, Mass., traveled to Canal Fulton, Ohio, to take part in the first running of the Get Lucky 50/50 on Saturday, March 23, in St. Helena Park.
Twenty-nine runners completed an out-and-back 50K race, none of them from New England. Koncilja was the lone runner from the region who toed the starting line in the 50-miler, and he made his presence felt.
Racing 25 miles out and 25 miles back on the Ohio Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Koncilja was one of just three runners to finish in less than eight hours. He placed second overall in 7:02:57, 10 minutes ahead of third-place finisher David Peterman, 56, of Akron, Ohio. Brian Polen, 39, of Wooster, Ohio, won the race in 5:57:44.
Twenty-eight runners finished the 50-mile race.
Antelope Island Buffalo Run
Since breaking onto the trail- and ultrarunning scene in 2016, Art Beauregard has been a regular presence at starting lines throughout New England while steadily building up his mileage.
On May 22-23, Beauregard, 40, of Framingham, Mass., took on his biggest race yet when he traveled to Syracuse, Utah, to take part in the ninth annual Antelope Island Buffalo Run Ultras. The weekend slate included 100-mile, 50-mile and 50K races; Beauregard opted for the longest distance.
Prior to the race, his longest run had been 100K when he completed the Twisted Branch Trail Run in Naples, N.Y., in August 2018. He ran the Stone Cat 50-miler in November 2018 and then completed 45 miles at the TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-Hour Ultra in February for his final major training day.
Beauregard’s preparation during the past three years paid off at the Buffalo Run. He finished the 100-miler in 23:42:14, good for 17th out of 46 finishers. Michael McKnight, 29, of Smithfield, Utah, was the men’s winner in 17:46:38 while Andrea Feucht, 44, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the women’s winner in 21:31:51.
Beauregard’s big year is just beginning. He’s entered in the 43-mile race at Wapack and Back in May and then will take on the Bear 100 in Utah in September.
The 50K race had the largest field with 128 finishers, led by 47-year-old Jeff Browning of Logan, Utah, who posted a winning mark of 4:00:41. Two New Englanders were among the finishers. Rob Flowers, 60, of Darien, Conn., finished 41st in 6:03:38, and 67-year-old Robert Falconi of Milton, Mass., was 71st in 6:49:03. For Falconi, Antelope Island has become a popular destination. He’s a regular at the event, having raced the 25K in 2018 and 2016 and the 50-miler in 2015. A five-time finisher of the 50-mile race at the Vermont 50 and a two-time finisher of the Keys 100 in Florida, Falconi will be back in action in April when he runs the 50K at the TARC Spring Classic.
In addition to the 100-miler and 50K, another 76 runners completed a 50-mile race. None of the runners at that distance were from New England.
Badwater: Cape Fear
Mike Bates kicked off his 2019 racing season at the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K at Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, Mass. That effort in January proved to be solid training for what followed on March 16 when he traveled to Bald Head Island, N.C., for the Badwater: Cape Fear Ultras.
The event included 51.4-mile and 50K races, and New England was represented at both distances. Bates, 53, of Acushnet, Mass., was in the longer distance with friend Brian Tjersland, 52, of Dartmouth, Mass.
The 51.4-miler started on the road for a dozen miles before runners broke off to the beach for 38 grueling miles on the sand. Bates and Tjersland both finished in 11:34:00, good for 57th and 58th place out of 99 finishers. Anne Wheatley, 34, of Asheville, N.C., was the overall winner and women’s champion in 7:09:00. Men’s champion and race runner-up Joshua Stevens, 48, of Boulder, Colo., finished in 7:45:00. They were the lone runners to finish in less than eight hours.
Meanwhile, the 50K race also began with 12 miles of road before transitioning to the sand where the challenge began. Sixty-five runners finished within nine hours. That included Jacqueline Brown, 57, of St. Albans Bay, Vt., in 7:48:00, and Cindy Tjersland, 52, of Dartmouth, Mass., in 7:51:00. Mark McGeough, a 49-year-old North Carolina resident, was the men’s winner for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, 44-year-old North Carolinian Suzanne Tulsey finished second overall and was the women’s winner for the third time (2019, 2017, 2016). She won the 51.4-miler in 2015.
*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.