MassUltra Roundup: Drummer Hill, Run Ragged, and Bighorn

Will Swenson of Andover, Mass., made a successful debut at the Drummer Hill 50K in New Hampshire, taking top honors in the men’s field, while Mont Vernon, N.H., resident Yuki Chorney improved on her runner-up effort a year ago by bringing home the women’s win on Saturday. Additionally, plenty of runners from the region took part in Connecticut’s first last-person-standing race, and a handful of others traveled to Wyoming to take part in the Big Horn Trail Race ultras. We’ve got all three races covered in this week’s roundup.

Drummer Hill

It has been six months since Will Swenson last raced an ultramarathon, but the 47-year-old from Andover, Mass., made his return to the starting line at the fourth annual Drummer Hill 50K on Saturday, June 15, in Keene, N.H.

For Swenson, it was his first time taking part in the race, which takes place on a 12.5-kilometer loop course and allows runners to choose how many loops they want to race. Swenson was one of 29 to complete four loops for a 50K, and he did so in dominating fashion. His winning time of 4:57:40 was the fourth-fastest time in course history despite not having a runner on his shoulder to challenge him. The top three performances all came at the 2016 race when young upstart Patrick Caron dominated (4:26:38) while Keith Bourassa (4:50:38) and Michael Pulli (5:52:09) went neck-and-neck for second).

Swenson’s closest competitor, 23-year-old up-and-comer August Posch of Portland, Maine, was a distant second in 5:14:38, followed five seconds later by 35-year-old Keith Bourassa of Keene, N.H., in 5:14:43 to round out the men’s podium. A more than 30-minute gap separated the top three men from the rest of the field. Joseph Mello, 43, of Milford, N.H., was a distant fourth in 5:47:10.

While race newcomer Swenson won the men’s race, the women’s win went to a race veteran. Yuki Chorney, 47, of Mont Vernon, N.H., threw down a strong performance at the 2018 race and earned the No. 3 spot on the course record board, but she placed second that year because Sara Dunham set the course record that day (5:12:15). Dunham wasn’t there this year, but Chorney was back. This time she had another solid day and brought home the win in 6:03:55, snagging the No. 4 spot on the course record board with her effort.

The closest battle on the women’s side was the race for second. Kerrie-Ann Briguglio, 48, of Townsend, Mass., finished as the runner-up in 7:14:00 in a tune-up race for the Javelina Jundred 100-mile race. Seven seconds later, 44-year-old Maria Chevalier of Cumberland, R.I. – fresh off a runner-up finish at the Chesterfield Gorge 100K two weeks earlier – followed in third place in 7:14:17.

Two more Massachusetts men finished in the overall top 10. Matthew Mailhot, 27, of Lowell placed seventh overall in 6:46:13 and 52-year-old Brian Tjersland of Dartmouth was 10th overall in 7:14:05.

A dozen other Massachusetts residents also finished the 50K. Belmont’s Duane Bronson, 50, finished in 7:21:33; South Dartmouth’s Robert Serpa, 44, followed in 7:23:51; Mewton’s Julie Huber, 56, was the fourth-place female in 7:26:32; Fairhaven’s Ryan Powers, 38, finished in 7:32:11; Fairhaven’s Pete Despres, 53, clocked a time of 7:43:53; New Bedford’s Stephen Taylor, 50, finished in 7:48:06; Acushnet’s Michael Bates, 53, followed in 7:52:52, followed four seconds later by New Bedford’s Jeremy Fuller, 37, in 7:52:56; Andover’s Dietmar Bago, 51, finished in 7:53:30; Fairhaven’s Kevin Mullin, 61, finished in 7:54:09; New Bedford’s Vincent Savino, 55, finished in 8:30:25, followed two seconds later by Fairhaven’s Mark Gauthier, 50, in 8:30:27.

Run Ragged Last Person Standing

The Connecticut Trailmixers played host to the first last-person-standing event in the state on Saturday, June 15, at Ragged Mountain in Berlin, Conn.

Rather than a non-technical loop course, the Trailmixers opted for a 3.1-mile rocky, hilly, technical course on Ragged Mountain while using the traditional last-person-standing format of starting a new loop on the hour, every hour, until only one runner remained.

Thirty-nine runners took part in the inaugural event, and it ended with 39-year-old Scott Snell of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., as the last person standing with 99.2 miles completed. Matthew Pederson, 30, of Fairfield, Conn., hung with him until the final loop, but Pederson ultimately retired after 96.1 miles.

While Snell and Pederson battled until the end, they had company for most of their miles. Joseph Nuara, 32, of Stratford, Conn., hung with them until stopping after 98.9 miles. The fourth-best performer was 39-year-old Jake Koteen of Granby, Conn., with 62 miles, while the top female performer, 43-year-old April Lionberger of Glastonbury, Conn., finished fifth overall with 55.8 miles.

A trio of runners from Massachusetts were among the competitors. T.J. Theis, 30, of Arlington, finished tied for 10th with 49.6 miles; 27-year-old Allison Fitch-Molony of Boston was the second-best female performer with 37.2 miles, good for 16th overall. Additionally, 31-year-old Ben Dispoto of Buzzards Bay made the race his first ultramarathon, finishing with 31 miles for a 50K.

Bighorn Trail Run

The Bighorn Trail Run ultramarathons are always known for mud, and that was no different in 2019. An unwelcome addition at the race June 14-15 in Dayton, Wyo., was the snow. Runners in the 100-mile and 52-mile races had to deal with that while traveling on the challenging course through the high country.

Matt Ross, 38, of Atlants, Conn., was the lone New England resident to deal with it at the 100-mile distance and make it all the way to the finish line. He was one of 186 runners to complete the 100-miler, finishing in 32:23:49. Seth Swanson, 39, of Missoula, Mont., brought home the win in 19:30:02, winning by more than 2 1/2 hours.

No New England residents were in the 52-mile race. A trio took part in the 32-miler, however. Eleni Peterson, 32, of New Ipswich, N.H., completed that distance in 7:33:40; Kristin Mattocks, 48, of Shutesbury, Mass., finished in 9:14:01 – her fourth time finishing the race; and Kerri Haskins, 48, of Danville, N.H., finished in 11:37:05.

*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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