MassUltra Roundup: Bear Mountain, White Lake, Strolling Jim, Spring Fling, McDonald Forest, Grayson Highlands, and Chompawamsic Challenge

From Patrick Caron’s 50-mile win on his birthday at The North Face Endurance Challenge’s event at Bear Mountain in New York, to Shannon Plesh’s first-place finish in the women’s field at the White Lake Ultras in New Hampshire, to Sarah Aponte’s winning effort at Strolling Jim in Tennessee, it was a weekend of big performances by Massachusetts ultrarunners at out-of-state races. This week’s roundup includes races in New York, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Connecticut, Oregon and Virginia.

TNFEC – Bear Mountain

Patrick Caron celebrated his 22nd birthday with a dynamite performance in the 50-mile race at The North Face Endurance Challenge—Bear Mountain on Saturday, May 4, at Bear Mountain State Park in New York. Racing on rocky, rooty, muddy trails with 7,500 feet of vertical gain along the way, the 22-year-old from Needham, Mass., ran away from the field and secured the victory by more than 20 minutes. Caron’s winning time of 7:00:34 was the second-fastest in course history. Alexandre Sauvageau, 30, of Sherbrooke, Quebec, was a distant second in 7:22:37. Only four runners finished in less than nine hours.

Top honors in the women’s field went to 38-year-old Aliza Lapierre of Williston, Vt., who finished ninth overall in 9:19:32.

Seven New England residents joined Caron and Lapierre in the overall top 100 in the field of 312 finishers. Blake Williams, 33, of Great Barrington, Mass., was 21st overall in 9:53:09; Jack Pilla, 60, of Charlotte, Vt., was 22nd in 9:55:23; Richard Rushka, 46, of New Milford, Conn., finished 25th in 10:14:34; Brian Vanderheiden, 49, of Bethel, Conn., was 51st in 10:35:30; Luke Robbins, 39, of Jeffersonville, Vt., was 75th in 11:04:19; Doug Scott, 43, of Old Greenwich, Conn., finished 81st in 11:13:55; and Chris Deming, 52, of Danbury, Conn., finished 87th in 11:22:37.

Other Massachusetts residents who finished were Chris Mitchell, 50, of Boston in 12:16:43; Lizzy Dickey, 32, of Boston in 12:16:47; Daniel Green, 32, of Boston in 12:53:57; Joseph DeSena, 50, of Boston in 13:27:56; Katie Falkowski, 33, of Hyannis in 13:31:48; and Wes Turner, 35, of Roslindale in 13:43:04.

In the 50K race that featured a field of more than 450 runners, Canadian runners Olivier Collin and Helene Michaux brought home the men’s and women’s victories, the 29-year-old Collin in 4:16:09 and the 34-year-old Michaux in 5:07:47.

Brian Scully, 33, of Simsbury, Conn., was the fastest New England finisher in 5:39:23, good for 30th place. Stephen Fleck, 35, of Mendon, Mass., was close behind in 32nd place in 5:41:46. Marc Almanzn, 36, of Jamaica Plain, Mass., finished 39th in 5:46:21, and 40-year-old Jay Reynolds of Greenwich, Conn., was 48th in 5:58:53. Two more New England residents finished in the top 100 – Jay Reynolds, 40, of Greenwich, Conn. (78th; 6:22:29), and Carlos Garcia, 24, of New Canaan, Conn. (91st; 6:30:15).

Other Massachusetts residents who finished were Jonathan Black, 41, of West Natick in 6:46:18; Douglas Keady, 48, of Brockton in 7:06:40; Ryan Drumm, 30, of East Falmouth in 7:18:26; Juliana Batista, 24, of Southborough in 7:39:14; Christiana Cioffi, 36, of Boston in 7:52:22; Shuo Lin, 28, of Sunderland in 9:33:39; Keiko Ogasawara, 40, of South Weymouth in 9:35:20; and Li Wang, 30, of Hadley in 9:44:07.

White Lake Ultras

Rockhopper Races LLC kicked off its second season of ultramarathon races when it played host to the White Lake Ultras on May 4-5 at White Lake State Park in Tamworth, N.H. The event offered runners 6-, 12- and 24-hour options to circle a 2.4-mile singletrack trail loop around White Lake as many times as possible.

Twenty-four runners took part in the 24-hour event, and all of them ran ultramarathon mileage. Matthew LeBlanc and Johnny Bristol ran away from the field with LeBlanc, 33, of Somersworth, N.H., tallying 86.80 miles and Bristol, 31, of Newmarket, N.H., finishing second with 81.20 miles. James Gawle, 67, of Webster, Mass., rounded out the men’s podium with 78.40 miles. Massachusetts residents Robert Aftosmes-Tobio of Sharon (70 miles) and Kristofor Smith, 38, of East Boston (67.2 miles) both finished in the top 10.
Shannon Plesh, 33, of Blackstone, Mass., finished first in the women’s field with 58.80 miles. Donna Cormier, 65, of Intervale, N.H., was the women’s runner-up with 39.20 miles.

Fourteen runners tackled the 12-hour event with 10 surpassing the marathon distance. Elizabeth Shell, 22, of Scarborough, Maine, took the overall win with 53.20 miles. Jacques Tetreault, 55, of Granby, Quebec, was the second-place finisher and men’s winner with 44.8 miles. Massachusetts residents Matthew Malloch and Karen Giroux were among the finishers to complete ultra distances. Malloch, 36, of South Weymouth, ran 36.40 miles while Giroux, 53, of Salem, finished with 33.60 miles.

Twenty-five runners competed in the six-hour race, 14 of which ran beyond a marathon. Tyler Kuntz, 28, of East Wakefield, N.H., led the way for the men with 36.40 miles. Stacia Broderick, 41, of West Tisbury, Mass., topped the women’s field with 30.80 miles. John De Sousa, 58, of Springfield, Mass., was the only other Massachusetts runner in the field. He completed 28 miles.

Strolling Jim

Fresh off of a first-place finish at the Umstead 100-miler in April, Sarah Aponte traveled to another classic American ultramarathon when she took part in the 41st annual Strolling Jim 40-miler on Saturday, May 4, in Wartrace, Tenn. Aponte, 28, of Somerville, Mass., dominated the women’s field along the way to winning in 5:34:32 while finishing fourth overall out of 191 runners. Her closest competitor, multi-time Vermont 100 champion Kathleen Cusick, 44, of Indian Harbor Beach, Fla., was second in 6:12:54.

Zack Beavin, 24, of Lexington, Ky., was the men’s winner in 4:07:42, the second-fastest time in course history.

Four more New England residents joined Aponte in finishing the race. James Nelson, 54, of West Hartford, Conn., was 22nd overall in 6:19:17; Curt Pandiscio, 58, of Granby, Conn., finished 79th in 7:40:50; Ronald Johnson, 66, of Bedford, N.H., finished in 8:56:14; and David Shanahan, 38, of Auburn, Mass., finished in 10:08:22.

CT Trailmixers Spring Fling 600

Nearly 140 runners took part in the CT Trailmixers’ annual Spring Fling 600 on Sunday, May 5, at the Southington YMCA in Southington, Conn., in the group’s second event of the season. Unlike the technical Traprock 50K in April, the Spring Fling 600 provides for easy running over a long period of time. Runners had 10 hours –600 minutes – to complete as many loops of a 3.1-mile course as they wanted.

Forty-four runners completed at least nine loops for 27.9 miles, surpassing the marathon distance of 26.2. Thirty-five finished 10 loops for a 50K; 12 surpassed 40 miles, and three broke the 50-mile mark.

Koby Nelson, 27, of Newington, Conn., was the top overall finisher with 55.8 miles, good for second on the men’s course record board. George Daniels, 57, of Durham, Conn., and Jeffrey Mitchell, 38, of West Hartford, Conn., both finished with 52.7 miles.

Rebecca Burke defended her women’s title with 46.5 miles, one loop shorter than 2018 when she completed 49.60 miles. Alanna Moss, 42, of Valatie, N.Y., was second with 43.4, followed by Kelyn Curitomay, 35, of Norwich, Conn., with 40.3.

T.J. Theis was the top runner from Massachusetts. Theis, 30, of Arlington, Mass., completed 34.1 miles. Thomas Madden, 44, of Abington, Mass., and Miriam Fenton, 35, of Arlington, Mass., both completed 31.0 miles.

McDonald Forest 50K

After a nearly five-year break from ultramarathons, Tony Henderson made his return at the 24th annual McDonald Forest 50K on Saturday, May 4, in Corvallis, Ore. Henderson, 41, of Roslindale, Mass., soaked in the views of the Cascades and the Coast Range while cruising on smooth singletrack dirt through Dogwood forests along his way to reaching the finish line in 7:30:35, joining 182 other runners who completed the race within the 10-hour time limit.

Lindon Powell, 26, of Ashland, Ore., was the men’s winner in 4:09:31, outdistancing the remainder of the field by nearly 24 minutes. Ashley Nordell, 39, of Sisters, Ore., finished 11th overall and secured the top spot in the women’s field in 5:06:05.

Grayson Highlands

Bill Howard’s build-up to the Mountain Lakes 100-miler in September has already included ultramarathon finishes at the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K and 30 miles at the TARCtic Frozen Yeti in Massachusetts and the Whiskey Basin 60K in Arizona. On Saturday, May 4, Howard added another ultramarathon finish – this time in Virginia.

Howard, 70, of Winchester, Mass., traveled to Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Va., to take part in the Grayson Highlands 50K. He took on a course that included 5,000 feet of vertical gain, rocky trails through forests of fir trees, and a trip to the summit of 5,089-foot Haw Orchard Mountain. Ultimately, Howard finished 121st in 7:17:14. There were 233 finishers within 9 1/2 hours. George Tolton, 27, of Richmond, Va., was the men’s winner in 4:19:41. Amanda Morris, 34, of Charlotte, N.C., finished second overall and set a new women’s course record in 4:58:09.

Chompawamsic Challenge

Elizabeth Gillis made a little bit of history on Saturday, May 4, when she traveled to Triangle, Va., and became the first woman to finish the Chompawamsic Challenge’s 100K race in the four-year history of the event.

Runners had 18 hours to complete the 100K race, which required running a 6.25-mile singletrack loop 10 times and amassing 12,000 feet of vertical gain. The small race in Prince William Forest Park only has a handful of runners each year. Just six runners attempted the 100K this year; four of them finished. David Ulissi, 26, of Virginia Beach, Va., finished first in 15:41:25. Gillis, 31, of Somerville, Mass., was the third finisher in 16:52:15.

In addition to the 100K race, another 25 runners completed the 50K race, though none were from New England.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including, 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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