MassUltra Roundup: Castle to River, GDR, Badger Mountain, and Prairie Spirit

Pittsfield’s Kehr Davis had to wait until last weekend to earn a victory at what was supposed to be her final race of 2018 at the Castle to River 50K in New York. Westborough’s Ben Nephew secured a runner-up finish at the same race in the Empire State and a dozen more New England residents also took part. Additionally, the controversy at the Georgia Death Race impacted a New Englander, and local ultrarunners earned finishes at the Badger Mountain Challenge in Washington and Prairie Spirit in Kansas. We have those four races covered in this week’s roundup.

Castle to River 50K

It was supposed to be her final big race of 2018, but instead the Castle to River 50K was Kehr Davis’s first win of 2019.

The race, which took place Sunday, March 31, in Garrison, N.Y., originally was scheduled to take place in November 2018. A snowstorm rolled through the area, however, forcing the race to be canceled and moved to the spring. Davis was primed for a strong performance on the original date, having had recent runner-up finishes at the Killington 50K in Vermont and Water Gap 50K in Pennsylvania and a win at the Breakneck Point 42K in New York. Instead, she had to wait through the winter, but the 42-year-old resident of Pittsfield, Mass., was still ready to go on the new date.

Davis outdistanced her closest competitor in the women’s field by 52 minutes, winning in 5:01:26 while placing eighth overall.

Only six runners finished in less than five hours. That included Ben Nephew, 43, of Westborough, Mass., who earned a runner-up finish in his first race of the season in 4:28:51. Only one runner, 42-year-old Ian Golden of Ithaca, N.Y., was faster, finishing just 97 seconds ahead in 4:27:14. Jay Lemos, 29, of Clifton, N.J., was third in 4:34:39.

Twelve other New England residents were among the 74 finishers within the 8 1/2-hour time limit. Shan Riggs, 40, of Glastonbury, Conn., led the way, finishing 12th overall in 5:26:02. Other finishers were Richard Camerik, 54, of Ridgefield, Conn., in 5:53:54; Loli Arosemena, 39, of Glastonbury, Conn., in 5:57:13; Art Byram, 55, of Glastonbury, Conn., in 6:01:48; Rod Wilson, 48, of Manchester, Conn., in 6:28:02; Christopher Norris, 50, of Roxbury, Conn., in 6:47:55; Andrew Bein, 53, of Riverside, Conn., in 6:52:47; Jenny Cavanagh, 30, of Weymouth, Mass., in 7:40:36; Claudia Rimerman, 53, of Stamford, Conn., in 7:44:48; John Small, 39, of South Weymouth, Mass., in 7:56:58; and Sophia Haber, 17, of Ridgefield, Conn., in 8:17:22.

Georgia Death Race

Controversy rocked the results of the seventh annual Georgia Death Race, and one New England resident was caught up in it – for running the right course.

Kassandra Marin, a native of Beverly, Mass., who now lives in Merrimack, N.H., threw down a strong performance on Saturday, March 30, at the high-profile race where Golden Ticket entries to the Western States Endurance Run were at stake for the top two male and female finishers.

Racing around 70 miles from Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Ga., to Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, GA., and amassing around 16,000 feet of vertical gain along the way, Marin led the women’s field for some of the race, losing her lead when her closest competitors went off-course, missing a climb in the process, and then returned to the course in the lead before pulling away.

Marin completed the official course faster than any other woman and almost all of the men, but the 29-year-old ultimately was the fourth female finisher and 11th overall in 15:40:21. The top two women, Luzia Buehler, 37, of Films Waldhaus, Switzerland, and Liz Canty, 27, of Huntsville, Ala., finished seconds apart in 13:42:17 and 13:42:35, respectively. Teresa Kaiser, 30, of Salt Lake City, Utah, finished third in 14:01:05. The race director later penalized all three runners an hour for going off-course (times adjusted to 14:42:17, 14:42:35, and 15:01:05), though it did not impact the standings and Buehler and Canty were awarded Golden Tickets. The top two men, Morgan Elliott, 26, and Shaun Pope, 30, both of Black Mountain, N.C., finished in 12:34:09 and 12:43:09. Pope later had a one-hour penalty added to his time for going off-course, too.

UltraRunnerPodcast has a conversation with the GDR race director where the controversy was discussed in detail. You can listen to it here.

In addition to Marin, three other New England residents were also among the finishers.

Sean Meehan, 39, of Canton, Conn., was the lone New England male to finish, placing 41st overall in 18:37:38. Also from the region, 28-year-old Taylor Verville of Tiverton, R.I., placed 67th in 20:07:47, and 38-year-old Michele Gorham of North Andover, Mass., was the second-to-final runner to beat the 24-hour time limit, finishing in 23:34:57.
Of the 289 runners who started the race, just 156 – slightly more than half the field – finished.

Badger Mountain Challenge

Only one New England resident took part in the Badger Mountain Challenge ultramarathons, but Haroldas Subertas made sure the region was well-represented.
Taking part in the ninth annual event on March 29-30 in Richland, Wash., Subertas raced the 50-miler at an event that also included 100-mile and 50K ultras. The 27-year-old resident of Amesbury, Mass., joined 125 other runners in the 50-mile race on the trails of Badger Mountain Preserve, and he was among the fastest in the field.

The top nine runners finished in less than eight hours, and Subertas was among them. He finished ninth overall and eighth in the men’s field in 7:59:48. Bradley Revenis, 33, of Chevy Chase, Md., was the men’s winner in 7:21:05 and Riva Muehlbuer, 37, of Underwood, Wash., took top honors among the women in 7:44:33. There were 126 finishers within 19 hours.

Prairie Spirit

Paul Hoffman left behind the technical trails of New England for the smooth surface of a mostly flat 50-miler in the heartland when he took part in the Prairie Spirit Ultras on March 30-31 in Ottawa, Kan.

The event offered four ultramarathon distances in the form of out-and-back races on the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail, a mostly flat crushed limestone path through rural communities south of Kansas City. The 50-mile race started and finished in Ottawa with a turnaround point 25 miles away in Garnett.

Maksym Chepeliev, 29, of Lafayette, Ind., ran faster than anyone else, winning in 6:03:57. Bethany Praska, 29, of Iowa City, Iowa, was the fastest female in 7:28:50. Hoffman, 68, of Chelmsford, Mass., finished in 14:07:24.

Hoffman was one of 60 runners to complete the 50-mile race.

One New England resident – 67-year-old Ed Peters of Norwalk, Conn. – finished the 100-miler, doing so in 28:56:36. He was one of 34 runners to complete that distance. Another 20 completed the 100K and 74 finished a 50K race.

*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.

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