MassUltra Roundup: Double Top, Mendocino Coast, Yakima Skyline, and Breakneck Point

While most New England ultrarunners who toed a starting line on April 20-21 did so in Weston, Mass., at the ninth annual TARC Spring Classic, a handful ventured beyond the region to race. Kara Olivito built on her recent victory at the Cape Cod Trail Race 50K by traveling to Georgia for the Double Top 100K. Additionally, Boston’s Liz McHutcheon raced in northern California on the Mendocino Coast, and a former Woburn resident – Scott Traer – brought home a victory in Washington at the Yakima Skyline Rim 50K. We’ve got those covered.

Additionally, lost in the shuffle of double-digit out-of-state ultras last week, we missed the Breakneck Point heavy-marathon in New York, so we’ve rolled that into this week’s roundup as several Massachusetts residents were among the top performers on a day where multiple runners broke the course record. It’s lighter reading than last week, but dig in because there’s still plenty to read in this week’s roundup.

Double Top 100

Only a handful of people attempt to tackle the Double Top Ultras in Chatsworth, Ga., each year. Maybe it’s the consistently challenging weather conditions, or perhaps it’s the serious vert. Whatever the case, the 100-miler, 100K, 50K and 72-hour races attract a handful of hearty souls who are eager for a grueling challenge.

Kara Olivito was one of those souls. The 37-year-old resident of Medford, Mass., took on the 100K race on Saturday, April 20. Her race consisted of around 16,000 feet of vertical gain on the loop course in the Cohutta Mountains of northern Georgia inside Fort Mountain State Park. It was cold, it was rainy, and it was tough. Of the 15 who started the race, 11 endured to the finish. That included Olivito who set a new under-40 course record with a time of 15:48.

Mendocino Coast 50K

A trio of New England residents were among the 146 runners to complete the fourth annual Mendocino Coast 50K on Saturday, April 20, in Mendocino, Calif. The race took place in northern California on the trails of Big River State Park, hugging the edge of a river and winding through thick forest, past a waterfall and out into the Mendocino headlands. Liz McHutcheon, 52, of Boston, Mass., was the lone Bay State resident in the field. She finished 86th overall in 8:00:19, well under the 10-hour time limit. Two runners from Windham, Conn., also were among the finishers. Joaquin Carral Gomez, 37, placed 53rd overall in 7:13:59, and Aurora Leon, 36, was 66th overall in 7:36:55.

Jorma Gates, 48, of Santa Rosa, Calif., was the top male finisher in 4:28:50 and Annie Ciernia, 33, of Davis, Calif., took top honors in the women’s field in 5:23:40. There were 146 total finishers.

Yakima Skyline Rim 50K

No current New England residents were in the field for the ninth annual Yakima Skyline Rim 50K on Saturday, April 20, in Ellensburg, Wash., but a Massachusetts native brought home the win.

Nearly 225 runners toed the starting line for the race, which includes nearly 10,000 feet of climbing on high desert trails near Mt. Rainier and the Cascades. Of the 157 who ultimately finished, nobody completed the out-and-back course faster than former Woburn resident Scott Traer. The 38-year-old who current lives in Lyons, Colo., hammered out the fourth-fastest time in course history while winning in 5:02:58. His closest competitor, 26-year-old Colorado resident Tyler Fox, finished nearly five minutes later in 5:07:50.

Breakneck Point

The Breakneck Point 42K has earned a reputation for being perhaps the most difficult trail marathon in the Northeast, both for its bonus distance – it weighs in on the “heavy” side in terms of mileage at around 27.5 – and its gnarly terrain. The course throws several steep climbs and descents at runners, including some exposed rock scrambles that aren’t for the faint of heart, in addition to jeep trails and a mixture of smooth and technical singletrack.

The fifth annual race attracted several New England residents on Saturday, April 13, at Hudson Highlands State Park in Beacon, N.Y., and a pair of Massachusetts residents – Liam Cregan and Kehr Davis – delivered performances that smashed the men’s and women’s course records.

Cregan, 26, of Amherst, Mass., led the deepest men’s field in race history on a day where the top four men dipped below the previous course-record of 5:04:00 that was set by Ben Nephew in 2016. In fact, six of the top seven times in course history were run this year, with Nephew, 43, of Westborough, Mass., securing the No. 7 spot on the record board with his sixth-place finish in 5:07:07 – exemplifying just how deep the field was.

Cregan and 27-year-old Steven Lange of Stanhope, N.J., went down to the wire in the battle for the win, with Cregan winning in a new course-best time of 4:36:20. Lange followed two minutes later in 4:38:26. The race for third was tight, too, with 29-year-old Jay Lemos of Clifton, N.J., edging 40-year-old Brian Rusiecki of South Deerfield, Mass. Lemos finished in 4:58:22 and Rusiecki followed in fourth in 5:00:19. Andy Vermilyea, 37, of Castleton, Vt., rounded out the men’s top five in 5:06:31, securing the sixth spot on the men’s record board. Jason Lantz, 37, of Bethlehem, N.H., earned the No. 9 spot on the record board with his seventh-place finish in 5:10:27.

Meanwhile, the women’s course record also fell thanks to a dominant performance by Davis. A resident of Pittsfield, Mass., the 42-year-old Davis previously established the third-best time on the course with her runner-up performance in 2017 (6:18:44) when Sarah Keyes set the course standard at 5:47:49. Davis has dominated technical races in the western Massachusetts/eastern New York area in recent years, though, and she built on her 2017 performance in a big way. Davis placed 11thoverall and finished first in the women’s field in 5:45:52, bettering Keyes’ mark by nearly two minutes. Davis’ closest competitor, Amelia Kaufman, 25, of Ithaca, N.Y., finished 14th overall and was the women’s runner-up in 6:02:04 while running the fourth-fastest time in women’s course history. Darcy Lucas secured the fifth spot on the women’s record board as the 38-year-old from Glastonbury, Conn., finished third (22nd overall) in 6:18:36. Fourth-place finisher (25th overall) Riley Brady, 23, of Huntington, Vt., nabbed the No. 8 spot on the women’s record board in 6:27:24.

Of the 152 runners who started the race, 116 finished within 12 hours. Other New England finishers were Ed Cullen, 31, of Rumford, R.I. (8th place; 5:25:44); Peter Keyo, 36, of Canton, Conn. (17th place; 6:07:51); Drew Jett, 32, of Monson, Mass. (6:31:56); Jason Gray, 39, of Northbridge, Mass. (6:49:39); Chad MacDonald, 32, of New Boston, N.H. (7:04:32); Tom Geisler, 45, of Rutland, Vt. (7:13:48); Chris Mahoney, 32, of Stamford, Conn. (7:19:23); Jordan Montour, 25, of Cambridge, Mass. (7:32:30); Adam Gallagher, 35, of Cranston, R.I. (7:39:32); Charlotte Dequeker, 46, of Greenwich, Conn. (7:46:51); Wendy Price, 51, of Jaffrey, N.H. (7:47:09); Jill Lizotte, 41, of Coventry, R.I. (7:53:02); Anthony Tieuli, 46, of Northbridge, Mass. (8:17:19); Michael Pereiro, 23, of Shelton, Conn. (8:43:02); Gyula Csontos, 44, of Exeter, N.H. (9:07:14); Andrea Buono, 51, of Unionville, Conn. (9:30:41); Dan Glover, 37, of Providence, R.I. (9:33:37); Bryan Gilmour, 35, of Southbury, Conn. (9:58:00); Chadwick Brown, 45, of Norwalk, Conn. (10:09:16); Michael Schmitt, 28, of Medford, Mass. (10:12:40); and Carlos Carrasquillo, 44, of Hamden, Conn. (11:49:32).

*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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