April was a jam-packed month for trail ultramarathons in Massachusetts, and with the month coming to a close several runners fit out-of-state ultras into their schedules. Most made the easy drive to neighboring Connecticut for the 45th annual Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug Ultras, where Boston’s Joe McConaughy threw down a sizzling 50-mile performance to bring home the win. A few others traveled to Sterling, Va., for The North Face Endurance Challenge’s Washington, D.C., event, including Falmouth’s Jimmy Stavlo who won the 50-miler and Boston’s Palo Cvik who took fifth in the 50K. Other runners scattered to Florida, New Mexico, California, Oregon and Pennsylvania for ultras, and we have them all covered in this week’s roundup.
Ninety-five ultrarunners seeking lots of fast miles – and plenty of pavement – took part in the 45th annual Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug Ultras on Sunday, April 28, in New Preston, Conn. Home of the nation’s oldest 100K race, as well as one of the longest-running ultramarathons of any distance in the United States, the event offered runners three ultra distances on a paved loop course – 100K, 50 miles and 50K.
The event’s signature race – the 100K – had the smallest field with 13 starters and 11 finishers within the 13-hour time limit. Padraig Mullins easily outdistanced the field as the 37-year-old resident of Cambridge, Mass., took top honors in 7:49:14, surpassing runner-up Drew Shattuck, 43, of Waltham, Mass., by more than 90 minutes. Shattuck finished in 9:26:37.
The top women in the 100K finished third and fourth overall, and they also earned spots on the women’s course record board. Jessie Makela, 34, of Mystic, Conn., was the women’s winner in 10:10:13, a time that landed fourth in course history. Runner-up Kelly Gillen, 36, of Brooklyn, N.Y., snagged the seventh spot on the record board in 10:40:52. Neither threatened Sue Ellen Trapp’s sizzling 8:43:14 from 1979, and only one runner has ever come close (Angie Darbyson’s 8:51:14 in 2016). Michael Condella, 31, of Revere, Mass., was among the other 100K finishers in 12:19:06.
The most untouchable course record board at the Jack Bristol races has been the men’s 50-mile list. Not since 1984 has a runner cracked the top 10, and nobody has truly threatened Allan Kirik’s 5:00:30 from 1979, the second year the event was held. Joe McConaughy didn’t match Kirik’s mark, but the 27-year-old resident of Boston, Mass., did break through on the top-10 list. Jumping into the race on short notice, McConaughy hammered out a blistering 5:22:59 for 50 miles, securing the fourth-place position on the men’s record board and outdistancing race runner-up Chris Matthews, 45, of Essex Junction, Vt., by more than 90 minutes. Matthews was the only other runner to break the 7-hour mark, finishing in 6:54:58. Jesse Goodenough, 33, of West Babylon, N.Y., finished third in 7:15:01. Rufus Chaffee, 44, of Northampton, Mass., was fourth in 7:36:48, holding off 57-year-old Todd Sears of Bethel, Vt., by less than a minute.
Shoko Okabe, 26, of Brighton, Mass., cruised to the top spot in the women’s field with a winning time of 8:11:25. Maria Chevalier, 44, of Cumberland, R.I., was the women’s runner-up in 8:55:22, improving upon her third-place finish in 2018. She was followed by 33-year-old Tess Gessler of Worcester, Mass., in 9:21:13. Gessler finished third in the event’s 50K race in 2017.
Also among the 50-mile finishers were Justin Kousky, 38, of Westport, Mass., in 8:22:51; Joshua Milich, 29, of Somerset, Mass., in 8:40:07; Carlos Rodriguez, 28, of Boston, Mass., in 8:40:48; David Burnett, 26, of Peabody, Mass., in 8:52:19; Matthew Pfahl, 32, of North Chelmsford, Mass., in 9:14:13; Charles Joyal, 49, of Agawam, Mass., in 9:17:01; Fran Curtis, 51, of Westminster, Mass., in 9:28:56; Deb Anderson, 44, of Wilbraham, Mass., in 11:17:39; and Lee Dickey, 65, of Danvers, Mass., in 12:29:28.
Thirty-one runners finished the 50-miler within the 13-hour time limit.
The top spots in the 50K race went to Connecticut residents. Fairfield’s David Walker, 52, held off Cheshire’s Tobias Tello, 14, with Walker finishing in 4:16:27 and Tello following in 4:24:28 to claim the top two men’s spots. Connecticut also was home to the top three women as Waterford’s Angie Thomas, 29, won in 4:32:36, followed by Stratford’s Vanessa Ruospo, 54, in 4:56:29, and Southington’s Tracy Sagata, 46, in 5:04:30.
Jason Hancock, 47, of Boston, Mass., was the third-place male in 4:24:36. Bennjamin Griffin, 32, of Pittsfield, Mass., also was among the finishers in the top half of the field with a time of 5:25:58.
Two years after finishing 15th overall at The North Face Endurance Challenge-Washington, D.C.’s 50-mile race, Jimmy Stavlo of Falmouth, Mass., returned to Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, Va., on Saturday, April 27, to gauge just how much he’s improved. Stavlo, 29, ran the 50-miler nearly 90 minutes faster this time and earned a first-place finish in 7:36:36, holding off 35-year-old Chris Meewes of Leesburg, Va., who placed second in 7:58:16.
Anne Bouchard, 44, of Quebec, finished eighth overall and was the first-place woman in 8:08:51.
Two more New England residents were among the 181 finishers. Ralph Crowley, 34, of Princeton, Mass., placed 35th in 9:40:57, a year after finishing third overall. Additionally, 36-year-old Graeme Marshall of Sandy Hook, Conn., was 51st in 10:05:49.
The 50K race featured another Massachusetts resident near the front of the pack. Boston’s Palo Cvik, 33, finished fifth overall out of 311 runners in 4:20:41. Matthew Schaar, 38, of San Francisco, Calif., took the win in 4:00:59. Another New England resident joined Cvik in the top 10. Matthew Werner, 22, of Simsbury, Conn., finished ninth in 4:33:20.
Robin Watkins, 35, of Washington, D.C. was the women’s 50K champion in 4:54:46.
Two more New England residents – Lu Neuse and Alexia Ross – also finished the 50K. Neuse, 38, of Brattleboro, Vt., finished in 7:29:20, and Ross, 20, of Needham Heights, Mass., earned her first ultramarathon finish in 7:46:25.
The Dunes 100
The Massanutten Mountain Trails 100-miler in Virginia is still a few weeks away, but before John Correiro goes for his third finish at that challenging race he tested his legs at the 100-mile distance at the third annual The Dunes 100 on April 27-28 in Hobe Sound, Fla.
Nineteen runners started the race, which covered three 33-mile loops through woods, across wetland prairie, on dirt and through sand. Just nine finished within the 30-hour time limit – six of them in the final hour. Correiro was one of them. The 50-year-old resident of Westport, Mass., placed seventh overall in 29:28:13. Cole Bataille, 35, of Winter Haven, Fla., was the men’s winner and lone sub-24-hour finisher in 21:24:41. Kathleen Gorby, 36, of Margate, Fla., was the top woman and second overall finisher in 26:45:49.
Cedro Peak 50K
Matt Rich established his trail-running foundation the past few years by racing the rugged 7 Sisters Trail Race in Amherst, Mass., and the half marathon at The North Face Endurance Challenge at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Mass. The 43-year-old resident of Longmeadow, Mass., leaped into the ultrarunning world in Saturday, April 27, at the Cedro Peak 50K in Tueras, N.M.
The eighth annual event took place on the singletrack trails of the Cibola National Forest where runners earned views of the Sandia Mountains and Cedro Peak as they navigated the course.
Rich finished the race in 8:36:04. There were 93 finishers within the 10-hour time limit. The top three overall runners battled to the final mile with Holden Rennaker, 28, of Durango, Colo., edging fellow Durango resident Kyle Curtin, 32, by 36 seconds. Rennaker posted a winning time of 4:34:24, and Curtin followed in 4:35:00. Women’s winner Michelle Hummel, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., was right there with them as she finished third overall in 4:35:37.
The Canyons 100K
The sixth annual The Canyons 100K was heavy on competitors – 293 runners finished the race – but light on New Englanders. Just two runners from the region took part in the race on Saturday, April 27, in Foresthill, Calif., where they got to run on some of the hallowed trails of the Western States Endurance Run.
Marilyn Oberhardt, 54, of Arlington, Mass., finished the race in 18:34:20, earning her third trip across the finish line in four years. Stephen Taylor, 50, of New Bedford, Mass., finished 20 minutes later in 18:54:03, narrowly beating the 19-hour time limit.
The men’s and women’s winners both secured the second-place spots on the course record boards with their performances. Jimmy Elam, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah, took men’s honors in 9:23:17, and 32-year-old Kathryn Drew of Vancouver, B.C., was the top woman in 10:58:04 – one second behind Magdalena Boulet’s course-record performance of 10:58:03 in 2016.
Four New England residents traveled cross-country to take part in the fourth annual Tillamook Burn Ultras on Saturday, April 27, at the Tillamook State Forest near Portland, Ore. All four – Renee Laurencelle, Robert Nicholson, Sarah Brenner and James Mor – ran the 50K race.
Laurencelle, 26, of Tyngsboro, Mass., was the top runner from the region, placing 82nd overall in 6:53:49. Nicholson, 32, of Somerville, Mass., clocked a time of 7:21:37 in his inaugural ultra, while Brenner, 23, of North Branford, Conn., finished 26 minutes later in 7:47:26, followed by Mohr, 36, of Salem, N.H., in 8:45:50. Matt Daniels, 31, of Boulder, Colo., took top honors in the men’s race in 3:52:35, while 24-year-old Allison Churchill of Eugene, Ore., won the women’s race in 5:09:18.
There were 165 finishers of the 50K within 10 hours. Additionally, another 102 runners completed the 50-mile race, though none were from New England.
Ironmasters Challenge 50K
Two New England residents took part in the 10th annual Ironmasters Challenge 50K on Sunday, April 28, on the trails of Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, Pa. Jacob Ouellette, 19, made his ultramarathon debut and the Connecticut teenager did so in impressive fashion as he placed 15th overall out of 122 runners. Meanwhile, 54-year-old Peter MacEwen of Beverly Farms, Mass., finished 66th overall in 7:24:49. Andrew Simpson, 30 of York, Pa., was the men’s winner and lone sub-5-hour finisher in 4:42:06. Allison Longenberger, 42, of Dillsburg, Pa., was the first-place woman in 5:46:59.
*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.