MassUltra Roundup: Afton, Finger Lakes, Silver Rush, ANF, and Last Call

Notchview Reservation in Windsor, Mass., was the scene for most New England ultrarunners who spent Fourth of July weekend racing. That said, a handful headed beyond the Bay State to race, be it in nearby New York for the classic Finger Lakes 50s, the upper Midwest where Boston’s Lance Doherty earned a top-10 finish at the Afton Trail 50K in Minnesota, California at the Angeles National Forest, or Colorado where runners took on 50-milers in Leadville and Fairplay. We’ve got them all covered in this week’s roundup.

Afton Trail 50K

Since moving to Massachusetts from California in 2018, Lance Doherty has taken on a handful of out-of-state races and delivered noteworthy performances each time. The first came in late 2018 when he finished fourth overall at the Rio Del Lago 100-miler in California, and then came a sixth-place finish at the Marin Ultra Challenge 50K in California in March of this year. Doherty once again earned a top-10 finish on Saturday, July 6, when he raced the Afton Trail 50K at Afton State Park in Hastings, Minn.

A Boston resident, the 42-year-old Doherty finished eighth overall out of 247 finishers within the nine-hour time limit. Doherty’s time on the two-loop, mostly nontechnical singletrack and doubletrack course was 4:29:47. Doherty will once again race in September when he toes the starting line for the Yeti 100 in Virginia.

Ben Schneider, 35, of Minneapolis, Minn., led all runners in the 50K race with a winning time of 3:51:14. Fellow Minneapolis resident Matthew Eidenschink, 25, was the only other sub-4-hour finisher, clocking a time of 3:53:26.

Finger Lakes 50s

The 22nd annual Finger Lakes 50s took place on Saturday, July 6, at the Finger Lakes National Forest in Hector, N.Y., and New England was represented in both the 50-mile and 50K ultramarathons. The races used a 16.5-mile loop course that was mostly singletrack dirt.

The 50K race was “heavy” at closer to 33 miles as runners completed two loops of the course. There were 140 finishers within 11 hours, led by men’s winner Xavier Salvador, 23, of Loudonville, N.Y., in 4:38:28, and women’s winner Justyna Wilson, 43, of Fairless Hills, Pa., in 5:03:32.

A half-dozen New England residents were among the finishers, led by Iain Ridgway. Ridgway, a 39-year-old resident of Grantham, N.H., gave Salvador a mighty challenge before ultimately finishing second overall in 4:40:35.

Other finishers from the region were Christopher Collins, 42, of Griswold, Conn., in 7:18:29; Eli Horowitz, 58, of Falls Village, Conn, in 7:30:54; James Diggins, 51, of Norwell, Mass., and Kelly Adams, 42, of Hingham, Mass., both in 7:43:21; and Shaun Coffey, 39, of Nashua, N.H., in 9:12:40.

The three-loop 50-mile race featured a smaller field with just 26 finishers within 15 hours, one of them from New England. Travis Gervis, 43, of Essex Junction, Vt., placed 17th in 11:20:21. Andrew Simpson, 31, of York, Pa., finished first overall in 7:36:29, followed by women’s winner and second overall finisher Sabrina Little, 32, of Morehead, Ky., in 7:54:08.

Leadville Silver Rush 50

More than 500 runners took on the high altitude of the Rocky Mountains at the challenging Silver Rush 50-miler on Saturday, July 6 in Leadville, Colo. Snow on the course’s highest point led to a partial reroute from the traditional Silver Rush course. That didn’t deter 2018 Silver Rush runner-up Carlos Ruibal who took top honors in the men’s field this year. Rubial, 32, of Del Norte, Colo., raced to the win in 6:37:34, holding off 35-year-old Jim Rebenack of Littleton, Colo., who was a close second in 6:59:16. In the women’s race, 29-year-old Allison Baca of Page, Ariz., earned the win in 7:56:54 and placed 14th overall.

Four New England residents were among the 517 finishers within 14 hours. Martha Braun, 30, of New Haven, Conn., led the way, finishing 291st overall in 11:27:57. Thomas Schulmeyer, 43, of Attleboro, Mass., earned his second straight SR50 finish, this time in 11:46:51. Gavin MacBeath, 49, of Wakefield, Mass., previously finished SR50 in 2017, but returned this year and finished in 12:29:42. Additionally, 36-year-old Andrew Pollard of Framingham, Mass., finished in 12:57:58.

Angeles National Forest

The recently rebranded Angeles National Forest Trail Races – formerly Mt. Disappointment 50K through 2017 – had its second edition under the new name on Saturday, July 6, at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in Mt. Wilson, Calif., and it once again included its signature 50K race alongside a second-year 60K offering. One New England resident took part in each of those races.

In the 50K, Jack Kuenzie of Roxbury, Conn., made his presence felt as the 23-year-old successfully navigated the trail and its 5,700 feet of climbing as he raced to a third-place finish out of 95 runners. Kuenzie battled Jorge Pacheco, 51, of Los Angeles, Calif., for second, but Pacheco ultimately prevailed in 4:34:01, followed 16 seconds later by Kuenzie in 4:34:17. Michael Eastburn, 29, of Porter Ranch, Calif., earned the win in 4:23:24. Runners had 12 hours to finish the race.

Meanwhile, 69 runners finished the 60K race and its 7,400 feet of climbing within 13 hours. That included Christopher Haley, 63, of Medfield, Mass., who placed 48th overall in 10:27:41. Mario Martinez, 44, of San Fernando, Calif., won the race in 6:03:10.

Last Call 50M

No New England residents took part in the Silverheels 100-miler, but two opted for the event’s late-night edition: the Last Call 50.

Unlike the 100-miler that started on Saturday, the Last Call – actually 54 miles – had a midnight start on Sunday, July 7, at the South Park Rec Center in Fairplay, Colo., and mostly used parts of the Silverheels course to take runners along dirt roads, singletrack dirt and gravel roads on a winding journey through the Pike National Forest and ultimately back to Fairplay. After starting in the dark, runners finished under the sun with 34-year-old Matt Gurba of Denver, Colo., taking top honors in the men’s field in 10:44:00, followed by Lucas Crespin, 34, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., in 11:26. The first-place female was Tracy Thelen, 39, of Colorado Springs, Colo., in 12:27:00.

Two Massachusetts residents were among the 49 runners who finished the high-altitude race within 18 hours. Belmont’s Duane Bronson, 50, placed 24th overall in 14:55:00, while 56-year-old Tammy Godin of North Grafton placed 40th in 16:02:00.

*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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