For New England ultrarunners, the July 13-14 weekend was the calm before the storm, so to speak. That’s because it was one week before the Vermont 100, the classic 100-mile footrace that draws hundreds of runners from the region to race on what is almost always one of the hottest weekends of the year. For those not taking on Vermont 100, however, there were a few races that attracted runners from the region. Most notably, several took on the fixed-time track race at the Ethan Allen 24 in Bennington, Vt. Additionally, others headed West to California, Oregon and Idaho for tough races.
Ethan Allen 24
While New England ultramarathons typically entail plenty of climbing and technical terrain, the second annual Ethan Allen 24 offered neither of those components. Instead, the event presented a different sort of challenge – a completely flat loop around a track. The fixed-time track race offered 24-, 12- and 6-hour ultramarathon options on July 13-14 in Bennington, Vt., and the event saw plenty of runners take advantage of the opportunity to race the unique event.
The most runners – 36 – took on the 24-hour option, and eight of those runners finished at least 100 miles. None had a bigger performance than 53-year-old Christopher Cappellini of Norton, Mass., who finished first overall with 134.4824 miles. Women’s winner and second overall finisher Emily Collins, 40, of Akron, Ohio, followed with 118.2993 miles, while 40-year-old Jeffrey Lindy of Brookline, Mass., finished third overall with 112.4195 miles.
Four more New England residents also surpassed the 100-mile mark, including 36-year-old Brian Speier of Wellesley, Mass., with 107.2309 miles; 34-year-old Morgan Fowler of Providence, R.I., who was the women’s runner-up with 105.7628 miles; 43-year-old Scott Defusco of Beverly, Mass., with 100.3128 miles; and 45-year-old Jon Cluett of Chestnut Hill, Mass., with 100.0777 miles.
Other New Englanders who completed at least 100K worth of mileage were Robe Leder, 48, of Stamford, Conn., with 92.5598 miles; James Gawle, 67, of Webster, Mass., with 90.5079 miles; Katie Falkowski, 33, of Hyannis, Mass., with 86.0748 miles; Richard Camerik, 54, of Ridgefield, Conn., with 75.111 miles; Harry Lepp, 62, of Danielson, Conn., with 73.1345 miles; Newton Baker, 77, of Montepelier, Vt., with 70.1695 miles; and Elizabeth Gillis, 31, of Lowell, Mass., with 62.7572 miles.
The 12-hour race had a nighttime start so runners could capitalize on the cooler temperatures, and many of them produced major mileage as a result. Pablo Espinosa, 39, of St-Polycarpe, Quebec, led all runners with 71.5034 miles in the half-day event, and 50-year-old Amy Mower of Falls Church, Va., led the women’s field with 67.9924 miles. Both Hanna Littlefield and Todd Sears earned third-place finishes for their 60-plus-mile efforts. Littlefield, 27, of Pembroke, Mass., was the third-place female with 60.2941 miles, while Sears, 57, of Bethel, Vt., was the third-place male with 60.0394 miles. Other New England residents with ultra distances in the 12-hour race were David Ayers, 33, of North Grafton, Mass. (53.8042 miles); Jeffrey Ray, 35, of New London, N.H. (50.6506 miles); Karen Giroux, 53, of Salem, Mass. (39.6183 miles); and Laurel Flax, 62, of New Boston, N.H. (36.7658 miles).
Thirteen runners competed in the six-hour race. Four of them surpassed the marathon distance, with 47-year-old Mike Skara of Livingston, N.J., leading the way with 30.9153 miles, followed by 58-year-old Brian Teason of Manchester, Vt., with 29.1549. Kenneth Posner, 56, of New York, N.Y., was the fourth finisher and third-place male with 26.5371 miles. Jennifer Cluett, 44, of Chestnut Hill, Mass., was the third finisher and first-place female with 26.4767 miles.
The Peak 50K
Will Briggs has done most of his ultramarathon racing in the Northeast, but he made his West Coast debut at the challenging Peak 50K on Saturday, July 13, in Julian, Calif.
The 30-year-old resident of Waltham, Mass., tackled an out-and-back course with a lollipop loop for extra mileage before the return trip. The trails of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park were anything but easy, however. The course challenged Briggs and his fellow runners with multiple sustained climbs with more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain at a time. Briggs endured and finished 13th overall out of 64 runners within the 10-hour time limit. Briggs clocked a time of 7:04:16. James Goodrich, 27, of Alpine, Calif., won the race in 5:16:46, holding off his closest competitor by 10 minutes. Sheila Vibert, 37, of Arlington, Va., was the ninth overall finisher and first-place woman in 6:31:17.
Mt. Hood 50
The Mt. Hood 50 has been a popular draw for more than two decades, and the 21st annual event was no different on July 13-14, in Clackamas Lake, Ore. Although no New England residents were among the 122 finisher at the event’s signature distance – the 50-miler – on Saturday, four were among the 150-runner field that completed the 50K race the next day.
The course offers runners plenty to like between its panoramic views of Mt. Hood in the distance, protection from the sun while running through shady forests, and good footing throughout that makes for fast times while running out-and-back on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Nobody could hang with Dustin Franta as the 30-year-old from Portland, Ore., won the race for the third year in a row. His time of 3:20:11 was 27 minutes faster than the men’s runner-up, and he was two minutes off of his own course record from 2017. Meanwhile, 32-year-old Ashley Arnold of Ashville, N.C., finished seventh overall and was the top female finisher in 4:01:28, 14 minutes ahead of her closest competitor.
Of the New England crew, 53-year-old Dan Gentile of Cranston, R.I., had a solid day and placed 19th overall in 4:41:33. Dan Richards, 29, of Revere, Mass., was the top finisher from the Bay State, placing 65th overall in 5:52:23. He was joined by Boston resident Ryan McVeigh, 25, who placed 82nd in 6:16:24. The lone New Hampshire finisher was 52-year-old Katrina Brow of Tilton who finished in 6:40:30. Runners had 8 1/2 hours to finish the 50K.
Beaverhead Endurance Runs
Jonathan Wang’s first ultramarathon was the 55K race at the Beaverhead Endurance Runs in 2018. His second came Saturday, July 13, at the same event in Salmon, Id., only this time the 29-year-old resident of Boston, Mass., bumped up to the 100K distance.
Racing on a point-to-point course along the Continental Divide Nation Scenic Trail and the Continental Divide, Wang, battled his way through technical terrain and a course that took him through two states before reaching the finish line in 18:28:55.
Wang was one of 124 finishers to complete the 100K race within 21 hours. Nathan Moody, 43, of Los Alamos, N.M., finished the fastest in 11:18:44.
Two more New England residents – Tammy Volock, 45, of Portland, Maine, and Joseph Drebaum, 38, of Medford, Mass. – also took part in the race. Volock finished shortly after Wang with a time of 18:39:12. Drebaum finished in 20:19:50.
In addition to the 100K, another 165 runners finished a 55K race within 18 hours. Kenneth Volok was the lone New England resident in that race. The 45-year-old resident of Portland, Maine, finished in 11:04:48.
*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.