MassUltra Roundup: Umstead, New Jersey Festival, and a Hills to Sea Trail FKT

Somerville resident Sarah Aponte delivered a dynamite performance and prevailed in a back-and-forth duel to win the Umstead 100-miler last weekend in North Carolina. Additionally, a handful of New England residents earned ultramarathon finishes at the New Jersey Ultra Trail Festival. Finally, Greg Soutiea – a former Quincy resident now running an inn in Maine – celebrated his birthday by grinding out a fastest known time on the Hills to Sea Trail. We’ve got all of these covered in this week’s roundup.

Umstead

Oliver LeBlond may have defended his title at the 25th annual Umstead 100 on April 6-7 at William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh, N.C., but the most electrifying race unfolded among the women as Sarah Aponte of Somerville, Mass., and Megan Alvarado of Springfield, Va., did battle.

For seven of their eight loops around the 12.5-mile fast and mostly flat course, the women traded leads or ran side by side, rarely separated by more than a handful of minutes. Alvarado was the first woman through loop one; at that point she held a four-minute edge on Aponte and Claire Gadrow of South Kingston, R.I. Gadrow soon slipped off the pace as Aponte forged ahead and pulled even with Alvarado by the end of the second loop. They spent the next 25 minutes running within a few strides of each other and hit the 50-mile mark together. Alvarado pulled away during her fifth loop and amassed a six-minute lead, but Aponte gradually reeled her back in and ultimately surged into the lead during loop seven. Aponte built a 10-minute lead after 87.5 miles and steadily pulled away during her final trip around the course.

Aponte, 28, ultimately earned first-place among the women and finished fourth overall in 15:40:47. Alvarado, 30, was a distant second in 16:21:03, good for sixth overall. Gadrow, 49, rounded out the women’s podium in 18:57:58 and was 17th out of all runners. The fourth-place woman was also a New England resident; Jennifer McHale, 40, of Southington, Conn., completed the race in 20:21:27.

Two more New England residents also finished the 100-miler. Fred Murolo, 62, of Cheshire, Conn., finished in 27:45:26; Massachusetts resident Lisa Allen, 55, was one of the final finishers in 29:26:23. There were 154 finishers within the 30-hour time limit.

While the 100-mile race was the main event, a four-loop, 50-mile race was also offered. Ninety-nine runners completed that distance within 20 hours, and the field was led by a pair of North Carolinians. Jason Tischer, 44, was the top male and lone sub-8-hour finisher in 7:34:44. Patti Tiernan, 45, took top honors among the women and placed fourth overall in 8:51:18. Massachusetts resident Michael Kent was the top New Englander to finish that distance. Kent, 55, finished eighth overall and sixth among the men in 9:20:45. Kent was one of just nine runners to complete the race in less than 10 hours.

Six more New England residents also finished the 50-miler. Steven Thomas, 39, of Nashua, N.H., placed 20th overall in 10:51:55; Doug Dyer, 50, of Rhode Island, was 39th in 12:10:04; Ian Hockley, 48, of Connecticut, finished 41st in 12:14:22; 25-year-old Andrew O’Loughlin of South Burlington, Vt., placed 57th in 12:57:10; and Danielle Moleski, 38, of Monroe, Conn., and Laura Lariviere, 41, of Clinton, Conn., finished side-by-side in 14:24:44.

New Jersey Ultra Trail Festival

A small contingent of New England residents took part in the 10th annual New Jersey Ultra Trail Festival on April 6-7 at the Princeton Blairstown Center in Hardwick, N.J. The event took place on a five-mile loop course consisting of singletrack trails, ATV trails and fire roads, and runners had ultramarathon distance options of 100 miles, 100K, 50 miles and 50K.

The crew from New England opted for the shorter ultra distances. Fred Pinero, 40, of Enfield, Conn., was the lone New England resident among the 12 finishers of the 50-miler. He placed eighth in 14:05:15. Two more runners from the region were among the 28 runners to complete the 50K; they finished back-to-back. Lou Bevacqui, 48, of Fayston, Vt., placed seventh in 6:28:55, followed by 24-year-old Israel Agront of Arlington, Mass., in eighth in 6:37:21. Nick De Santis, 34, of Wanaque, N.J., was the winner at that distance in 5:21:11. Additionally, five runners finished the 100-mile distance and six completed the 100K race.

Hills to Sea Trail FKT

Greg Soutiea hoped to spend his final day as a 34-year-old hammering his way along the Hills to Sea Trail, a 47-mile route from Unity to Belfast, Maine. The trail has been open for less than three years, making it a particularly enticing attraction for an ultrarunner with his sights set on establishing a Fastest Known Time (FKT).

A former resident of Quincy, Mass., who now lives in Spruce Head, Maine, working as an innkeeper at the Craignair Inn and Restaurant, Soutiea used his endurance and footspeed to earn numerous ultramarathon wins and podium finishes throughout New England and across the country during the past five years. He currently holds the men’s supported FKT for the Midstate Trail (along with Charles Dona, Charles Hornbaker and Jake Dissinger), so he’s no stranger to such endeavors.

Soutiea’s original goal was to complete the Hills to Sea Trail in 8-9 hours, however a deep layer of unpacked snow and ice – as well as a waist-deep water crossing in 35-degree temperatures – forced him to slow down quite a bit. Still, his goal of establishing the FKT was accomplished with the support of his wife, Lauren Soutiea. He covered 47.79 miles with 6,224 feet of vertical gain in 11:46.03. The result has been verified on fastestknowntime.com and a first-hand account of Soutiea’s adventure can be found on his blog.

*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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