After a few jam-packed weekends of ultramarathon racing in Massachusetts, the Aug. 17-18 weekend was quiet in the Bay State. Runners from the region traveled to other parts of the country to race, however, and turned in strong showings. None had a bigger weekend than Ryan Fecteau as the resident of Danvers, Mass., set a new course record with his victory at the Habanero Hundred in Texas. Additionally, new New England resident Brent Kocis turned in a fourth-place showing at the Waldo 100K in Oregon. In addition to those races, the Lean Horse 100 from South Dakota and the Twisted Branch 100K from New York are included in this week’s roundup, and we also tracked down results from the Fat Dog 120 in Canada from the weekend prior.
Only one New England resident raced the Habanero Hundred on Aug. 17-18 in Cat Spring, Texas, and he was the fastest runner in the field. The course was fast at the 7IL Ranch, taking runners on a largely non-technical loop of singletrack dirt and cross country-style grass, and the 26-year-old resident of Danvers, Mass., took full advantage.
Fecteau easily outdistanced the field and set a new course record at the fifth annual event, knocking nearly three hours off the previous record with his winning time of 20:44:57. Fecteau’s closest competitor, 40-year-old German Garcia of Flint, Texas, notched the second-fastest time in course history while finishing in 22:04:19.
Brent Kocis made sure his inaugural ultra representing New England was a successful venture. Kocis, 30, recently moved to Medford, Mass., from Colorado. While there, he had established himself as a tough competitor on the trails while earning several top-10 finishes.
Kocis headed back West and raced the 18th annual Waldo 100K on Saturday, Aug. 17, in Oakridge, Ore. The loop course started and ended at the Willamette Pass Ski Area and took Kocis and his fellow runners on a tour of the surrounding mountains. Runners had 20 hours to complete the race; 114 did so, and Kocis was one of the first to finish. He spent the entire race near the front of the pack and finished fourth overall in 10:31:53. Drew Macomber, 27, of College Place, Wash., and Tomonori Onitsuka, 37, of Saga, Japan, tied for the win in 10:03:32.
Fat Dog 120
For most ultrarunners, 100 miles is far enough. In recent years, however, 200-milers have grown in popularity. Bridging that gap for several years has been the Fat Dog 120 – a 120-mile mountain raice on rugged, rocky trails with more than 27,000 feet of climbing and an equal amount of punishing descent. That recipe enticed two Massachusetts men to take on the challenge at the ninth annual Fat Dog 120 on Aug. 9-11 in Manning Park, B.C.
Jack Bailey, 40, of Medway, and Christopher Agbay, 42, of Jefferson, joined 138 other runners at the starting line. Of those who began, 95 finished the race. Bailey and Agbay were among the successful runners, finishing minutes apart directly in the middle of the field. Bailey placed 47th overall in 41:46:05, and Agbay was 48th in 41:58:04.
Avery Collins, 27, of Silverton, Colo., notched the third-fastest performance in course history with his winning time of 25:59:08.
In addition to the 120-mile race, another 36 runners completed the 70-mile race, 33 finished the 50-mile race and 27-finished the 40-mile race. No New England residents competed at those distances.
Lean Horse 100
The 15th annual Lean Horse 100-miler attracted several runners to Custer, S.D., to take on the flat, fast, mostly crushed-gravel course, and the result were numerous fast finishes. Don Reichelt, 33, of Littleton, Colo., was the fastest runner in the field, winning the race outright in 17:16:48. A Massachusetts resident joined Reichelt in the top 10 with a sub-24-hour finish. Anton Smith, 42, of New Bedford, placed 10th overall in 23:19:20 for what was at least his third 100-mile finish. He previously completed the San Diego 100 and Angeles Crest 100, both in California.
Two other New England men also finished the race. Todd Sears, 57, of Bethel, Vt., finished 21st in 24:54:34, and 68-year-old Ed Peters of Norwalk, Conn., finished in 30:57:55.
In addition to the 100-mile race, Lean Horse also offered 50-mile and 30-mile ultramarathons. Sara Coulter, 44, of Northborough, Mass., finished the 50-miler in 11:58:18, and 66-year-old Marilyn Williams of Bridgeport, Conn., completed the 30-miler in 8:25:01.
Twisted Branch Trail Run
The Twisted Branch Trail Run may not be a mountain race, but the 100K point-to-point course has earned a reputation for its challenging rocky and rooty terrain during its first four years. The fifth annual event took place Saturday, Aug. 17, in Naples, N.Y., and two Massachusetts women conquered the course and made their mark on the event with strong performances.
Both Rachel Bainbridge and Kehr Davis pulled away from the women’s field early as they made their way through the Finger Lakes region on the Bristol Hills Branch Trail, and eventually the only question was which would win. That honor went to Bainbridge, 32, of Arlington, Mass., who set a new women’s course record with her time of 12:50:54, knocking 20 minutes off the old course standard set by Jacque Merritt in 2015. Bainbridge was the fifth overall finisher. Davis, 42, of Pittsfield, Mass., was the 11th overall finisher and the women’s runner-up in 13:21:41, securing the third spot on the women’s record board.
In the men’s race, 31-year-old Andrew Simpson of York, Pa., dethroned two-time defending champion Jim Sweeney, 38, of Albany, N.Y. Simpson didn’t take down Sweeney’s course record of 10:12:59 from 2018, but he did post the third-best time ever on the course while winning in 10:27:35. Sweeney finished second in 11:11:03.
Jesse Howes, 38, of Suffield, Conn., was the top male finisher from New England. He placed 22nd overall in 14:36:49. Additionally, Mark Conley, 53, of North Kingstown, R.I., was 34th in 15:17:00, and 39-year-old Doug Hsu of West Roxbury, Mass., was 40th in 15:36:49.
Other New England residents who finished were 32-year-old Ken Parnow of Portland, Maine (15:57:09); 53-year-old Giuseppe Le Pera of Bedford, N.H. (16:52:47); 42-year-old Pete McHugh of Northfield, Vt. (16:55:53); 29-year-old Kristin Ritchie of Northampton, Mass. (16:58:18); 41-year-old Chris Bournakis of Portland, Maine (17:05:43); 39-year-old Christopher Lay of Somerville, Mass. (17:22:24); 43-year-old Blake Pomeroy of Rowley, Mass. (17:31:17); 35-year-old Shelley Cheung of Needham, Mass. (17:55:11); 45-year-old Tom Golembeski of West Hartford, Conn. (18:21:26); 40-year-old Jason Roberts of Trumbull, Conn. (18:24:55); 30-year-old Matthew Pedersen of Fairfield, Conn. (18:44:42); 53-year-old David Walker of Fairfield, Conn. (18:58:55); 31-year-old William Jara of Wethersfield, Conn. (19:52:57); 27-year-old Chelsea Jackson of Standish, Maine (19:57:59); and 41-year-old Karen Deyesso of Scarborough, Maine (19:58:06). Runners had 20 hours to complete the race, and 122 did so within the time limit.
The annual 100-mile “Race Across the Sky” took place Aug. 17-18 in Leadville, Colo., and the classic high-altitude mountain race featured several big performances and saw nine New England residents cross the finish line.
Colorado resident Ryan Smith, 40, dominated the men’s race, winning by more than 80 minutes in 16:33:24. Although he didn’t challenge Smith for the win, 23-year-old Tate Knight of Connecticut, a former Colorado resident, delivered a head-turning performance as he raced to a fifth-place overall finish, clocking a time of 18:51:47 to lead the New England contingent.
Meanwhile, the women provided for a much more thrilling competition with former Western States champions Magdalena Boulet of California and Cat Bradley of Colorado doing battle. Boulet led nearly throughout, but Bradley battled tough and was in striking distance for nearly the entire race. Boulet, 46, won in 20:18:06, placing 11th overall, while Bradley, 27, was the women’s runner-up and 14th overall finisher in 20:45:48.
Tim Finocchio was the top Massachusetts resident. The 41-year-old from Holbrook placed 56th overall in 24:08:39. Joining him in breaking the 25-hour mark to secure the large finisher’s belt buckles were 57-year-old Tim Cronk of Laconia, N.H., in 24:40:36, and 30-year-old Michael King of Augusta, Maine, in 24:53:11.
Other finishers from the region were 49-year-old Neil Feldman of Boylston, Mass., in 26:30:30; 48-year-old Jeremy Howard of Little Compton, R.I., in 27:21:39; 30-year-old Kevin Koncilja of Boston, Mass., in 29:13:32; and 50-year-old Jim Ploof of East Middlebury, Vt., in 29:22:41.
Runners had 30 hours to finish the race, with 374 beating the cutoff. Duane Bronson, 50, of Belmont, Mass., completed the distance but was just over the time limit, finishing in 30:05:37.
*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.