MassUltra Roundup: Riverlands, Dawn to Dusk to Dawn, and Thunderbunny

A handful of Massachusetts residents secured hard-earned finishes at the Riverlands 100 last weekend in Maine, including Andover’s Nate Combs who became one of just two runners to be three-time finishers of the race. Additionally, Cambridge resident Padraig Mullins brought home a victory in the 50K at Dawn to Dusk to Dawn in Tennessee; and another Massachusetts resident completed his first ultra at the Thunderbunny 50K in Ohio. All three races are included in this week’s roundup.

Riverlands 100

Nate Combs and Sam Heye became the only runners to finish the Riverlands 100 all three years of the event’s existence when they crossed the finish line of the 100-mile race on Sunday, May 12, in Turner, Maine.

Both Combs, 56, of Andover, Mass., and Heye, 33, of Freeport, Maine, were among the 27 runners to complete the inaugural race in 2017. They were among a handful who returned for the second year of the race, some of which became two-time finishers and others who were unable to finish.

Both Combs and Heye returned to the 2019 race with the confidence of owning two finisher’s belt buckles already. They each added a third to their collection by successfully completing four out-and-backs on singletrack trails and ATV track at Androscoggin Riverlands State Park.

Heye placed eighth overall in 24:05:15. Combs was 23rd out of 26 finishers in 31:39:02. Runners had 32 hours to complete the distance.

Mark Hammond, 33, of Millcreek, Utah, capped a successful trip to the Northeast by cruising to the overall win by more than 2 1/2 hours and eclipsing Beau Langevin’s course record by more than 20 minutes, winning in 17:37:28. Clark Heijbroek, 35, of Gardiner, Maine, was a distant second in the men’s field in 21:18:22, followed by 48-year-old Martin Rouillard of Laval, Quebec, in 22:07:53.

Kandy Ferris, 45, of Longwood, Fla., was sixth overall and the first-place woman finisher in 24:02:32. The next two women were Susan Haversat, 53, of Windham, Maine, in 28:47:35, and Helen Francis, 45, of Lively, Ontario, in 29:24:12.

Three other Massachusetts residents were among the finishers. Falmouth resident Chris Risko, 50, finished 13th in 26:45:42; Newton’s Patrick Hayes, 36, was 14th in 27:11:38; and Southwick’s Mary Troy, 34, was 24th in 31:54:47 – beating the cutoff with a few minutes to spare.

Dawn to Dusk to Dawn

The big event on Padraig Mullins’ race schedule this year is the notorious Big Backyard Ultra on Oct. 19 in Bell Buckle, Tenn. In preparation for that Last Man Standing event, Mullins is taking on several other races this year. His latest was the 50K race at the Dawn to Dusk to Dawn Track Ultras on May 11 in Sharon Hill, Pa. The event included 24-hour, 12-hour and 50K races. Mullins was the lone New England resident to race the 50K, and he brought home the win. The 37-year-old resident of Cambridge, Mass., clocked a time of 4:06:46 and outdistanced his closest competitor by 30 minutes.

This was Mullins’ fourth time taking part in Dawn to Dusk to Dawn. He raced the 24-hour event in his three prior efforts, including a win in 2018 with 132.7159 miles completed.

Fourteen runners took part in the 12-hour race this year; none were from New England. Another 50 completed the 24-hour event, including 34-year-old Morgan Fowler of East Haven, Conn., who logged 55.6749 miles, and 62-year-old Laurel Flax of New Boston, N.H., who completed 44.2416 miles. Rich Riopel, 45, of Morganville, N.J., was the top 24-hour finisher with 162.0379 miles.

Thunderbunny 50K

Reilly Grant made his ultramarathon debut at the fourth annual Thunderbunny 50K on Saturday, May 11, in Athens, Ohio, and the 23-year-old resident of Amherst, Mass., finished in the top third of the field.

Grant joined 141 other runners at the starting line at Strouds Run State Park to tackle the singletrack dirt course through the rolling Appalachian Foothills. Grant ultimately finished 46th overall in 6:12:50.

Alex Gold, 24, of Peebles, Ohio, was the top overall finisher in 3:49:34 and was the lone sub-4-hour finisher. Molly Dengler, 28, of Columbus, Ohio, took top honors in the women’s field in 5:13:59.

*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.

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