The inaugural East End 50K was an intimate affair with 17 starters and just a dozen finishers in 2018. Runners once again enjoyed a close-knit community feel in year two, held Sunday, August 4, even as the race experienced a surge in popularity.
The starting field nearly doubled in size with 33 runners toeing the line at Borderland State Park in Easton, Mass. After eight hours had passed, 27 runners had finished the race on the five-loop course and both the men’s and women’s course records had been smashed. The top five men all finished under last year’s winning time of 6:01:31 by Charn McAllister, and the top four women all dipped under Polina Lepniakova’s winning mark of 6:48:22 from 2018.
All in all, it was a day of big performances and tough racing.
The men’s race had some early jockeying for positioning, but ultimately Jay Frontierro took control and delivered a dominant performance.
Victor Pereira led the pack throughout the first loop and the 40-year-old from Foxboro, Mass., cruised through the first 10K in 53:19, a full two minutes ahead of Frontierro who was in second place and 1:42 ahead of third-place Josh Hanley. Xavier Liang, 30, of Watertown, Mass., was a minute back of Hanley and battling to stay in contact with the lead pack, but he soon fell off the pace and ultimately dropped from the race.
Frontierro picked up the pace in loop two, and the 44-year-old from Hamilton, Mass., gradually worked his way past Pereira and Hanley, 31, of Stamford, Conn. Frontierro was the first runner through the 20K mark, reaching it 73 seconds faster than Hanley and 86 seconds ahead of Pereira.
Frontierro was consistent throughout the race, and that made the difference during the final three loops as he built a commanding lead. He ultimately threw down his fastest loop of the day on loop four (54:13) before closing out his race with his slowest loop (56:41), a remarkable display of pacing that produced a new course-record time of 4:36:26. While Frontierro pulled away, Hanley and Pereira wore down and had to battle for the final podium spots with 35-year-old Ed Donahue of Roslindale, Mass., and 48-year-old Barry Ahern of East Sandwich, Mass. Hanley held on for second place in 5:41:33 and Donahue surged into third place in 5:45:39. Ahern was a close fourth in 5:47:58 and Pereira slipped to fifth in 5:49:20.
While the race for first among the men received some early clarity, the battle for the women’s win was a mystery until the final miles. Nicole Negowetti set the tone with a 1:02:28 first 10K, and the 38-year-old resident of Melrose, Mass., made it clear she wasn’t going to run conservatively in her first ultramarathon. Elizabeth Lynch, an ultra veteran who was fresh off of a runner-up finish at the Jug End Loop Ultra the weekend prior, stayed in close contact with Negowetti, finishing her first loop two minutes back.
While Negowetti continued to push the pace during the next two loops, ultimately stretching her lead to nearly 15 minutes after 30K, Lynch relied on experience gained through around two-dozen prior ultras. The 54-year-old from Milford, Mass., continued to run her race, and ultimately momentum shifted in her favor. Fatigue caught up with Negowetti during her fourth loop and Lynch chopped 5 1/2 minutes off the gap. Still nine minutes back, Lynch was in striking distance. She tracked down Negowetti during the final 10K and ultimately pulled ahead. After trailing for around 45K, Lynch emerged victorious with a new course-record time of 6:09:45. Negowetti followed in 6:18:18, capping an impressive ultramarathon debut. Meghan Davis, 30, of Boston, Mass., rounded out the women’s podium in 6:29:36 in what was effectively a training day for her 100-mile debut at the Javelina Jundred in late October. Linnea Laverty, 32, of Lynn, Mass., also dipped under the previous course record, finishing fourth in 6:41:47.
In addition to the 50K, East End offered two non-ultramarathon races at 30K and 10K distances. In the 30K, 26-year-old Karly Moore didn’t quite match her course-record performance from 2018 (3:14:56), but the 26-year-old resident of Brighton, Mass., did defend her title, winning the women’s race while finishing seventh overall in 3:19:38. Moore fended off a tough challenge from 25-year-old Hannah Krueger of Hopkinton, Mass., who finished close behind in 3:19:57. Jennifer Rushton, 43, of New Bedford, Mass., rounded out the women’s 30K podium in 3:24:26. In the men’s 30K, 36-year-old Tim Morin of Arlington, Mass., earned the victory in 2:59:03, followed by 29-year-old Allen Dean in 3:05:42, and 35-year-old Greg Lashoto of Newton, Mass., in 3:06:45.
Additionally, the men’s and women’s course records fell in the 10K race as 22-year-old Patrick Caron of Needham, Mass., cruised to the men’s victory in 41:58, nearly two minutes faster than Scott Vandermolen’s winning time of 43:39 from 2018. Caron was the 30K winner in 2018 when he set the course-record of 2:09:17. Owen McMorrow, 15, of Taunton, Mass., was Caron’s closest competitor in the 10K, finishing second in 47:00. In the women’s race, 27-year-old Meghan Krueger of Hopkinton, Mass., earned the victory in 53:17, two minutes ahead of Riddley Gemperlein-Schrim, 25, of Roslindale, Mass., and Erin Carr, 33, of Fairhaven, Mass., who tied for second in 55:20. Krueger’s time took 50 seconds off of the previous course record of 54:07 set by Christell Baum in 2018.