For the fourth year in a row, “The Goat” presented a tough test to ultrarunners when MRA Multisport played host to the fourth annual durtyfeets Trail Run Series Goat Hill 50K on Saturday, May 18, in Uxbridge, Mass.
Seventeen runners accepted the challenge this year, and 12 ultimately completed all four trips around the eight-mile loop course on a sunny day where the temperature rose into the 70s. The race threw plenty of rocks and roots at the runners, but also mixed in some sections of smooth singletrack dirt. Along the way, they endured 1,000 feet of vertical gain per loop – 250 feet of it coming during the course of a quarter-mile climb courtesy of “The Goat.”
The positioning of “The Goat” at the end of the loop’s first mile meant it could have an intimidating influence on how the race would unfold. Some runners might attack it with a vengeance and pay the price later; others might back off early and fall too far off the pace to catch up. In the battle for the win in the women’s race, however, “The Goat” found a trio of competitors in Molly Karp, Elizabeth Lynch and Corrie Kavanaugh who didn’t shy away from the challenge. All three spent the first two loops trading positions at the front, never more than three minutes apart. Karp, 38, of Natick, Mass., rolled through the first loop in 1:35:38, with Kavanaugh, 25, of Stamford, Conn., 30 seconds behind her. Lynch, 54, of Milford, Mass., was just 68 seconds off the lead after eight miles. Loop two saw Lynch move to the front with Kavanaugh hanging on her heels as Karp fell a few minutes behind. She was out of contact with the leaders for a few minutes, but it didn’t last long.
Karp raced over “The Goat” to start loop three and spent the remainder of the lap slowly reeling in Lynch as Kavanaugh fell off the pace. After 24 miles, Lynch was still in the lead, but Karp was just 20 seconds back and coming on strong. She once again charged up and over “The Goat” at the start of loop four and continued to push the rest of the way, steadily opening up a lead while hammering out her second-fastest loop of the day. After three neck-and-neck loops, Karp earned some breathing space during her final lap and went on to win in 6:42:19. Lynch followed in second in 6:56:59 while Kavanaugh faded to a distant third in 7:17:55.
The men’s race saw 35-year-old Chase Fuller of North Smithfield, R.I., patiently work his way through the field as the loops went by, withstanding the wear and tear of “The Goat” and ultimately seizing control.
Scott Deslongchamps, 50, of North Grosvenordale, Conn., set the pace early, clocking a 1:14:14 first loop, a minute-and-a-half up on Matthew Marden, 41, of Framingham, Mass., three minutes ahead of 25-year-old Hunter Silva of Granville, Mass., and five minutes ahead of Fuller. Deslongchamps maintained the lead throughout the second loop, but Fuller picked up the pace and used his fastest loop of the day (1:14:31) to move into second place just two minutes back of Deslongchamps. By the end of loop three, Fuller was in front, Silva three minutes back in second and the rest of the field further behind. Fuller pulled away from there, ultimately winning in 5:16:29. Silva followed in second in 5:30:31 and Deslongchamps was a distant third in 6:12:10.
In addition to the ultramarathon, a handful of shorter-distance races also took place on the loop. In the three-loop, 24-mile race, Jason Devarennes, 42, of Maynard, Mass., was the top male finisher in 3:56:32 while 32-yer-old Jackie St. Louis of Somerville, Mass., was the fastest woman in 5:46:18. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Stephen Kerr of Ashfield, Mass., took top male honors in the two-loop, 16-mile race in 2:08:36 while 54-year-old Lori Muhr of North Grafton, Mass., won the women’s race in 2:49:09. In the one-loop, 8-mile race, 51-year-old Nicholas Cotton of Westborough, Mass., won the men’s race in 1:06:13 and 35-year-old Robyn Bratica of Milford, Mass., was the first-place woman in 1:16:19.
A short-course 5K race was also offered. Jerry Hughes, 45, of Hopkinton, Mass., finished first in 25:20. Madeline Miller, 33, of West Newton, Mass., finished third overall and was the first-place woman in 28:52.