With most of the ultrarunning world’s eyes on the European Alps last weekend for the self-proclaimed World Summit of Trail-Running at the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, the race schedule across the country was notably lighter during Labor Day weekend. A few runners from New England made the journey to Europe for UTMB and its associate races – we’ll have those covered in a separate roundup – but a few runners headed to nearby Vermont for a 33-mile ultra at the Jay Peak Trail Running Festival while others traveled to Idaho for the gnarly Run the Rut 50K. Both of those are covered in this week’s roundup.
Jay Peak Trail Running Festival
Jason Smith assembled an ambitious ultramarathon race schedule for himself this year, starting with the Wapack and Back 50-miler and the Pineland Farms 50-miler, and continuing with events such as the Quebec Mega Trail 110K in Canada and the Jay Peak 53.1K – a race he won in 2018.
Smith, 29, of Cambridge, Mass., won his first two 50-milers of the year and then finished 13th overall in Quebec in late June. That had him primed for a big day at Jay Peak on Sunday, Sept. 1, when he set out to defend his title on the three-loop, 33-mile course on the ski slopes of Vermont.
Smith went out strong and overcame the 9,000 feet of climbing with ease, ultimately dominating the race and winning in a new course-record time of 6:19:39 – more than 25 minutes faster than his 2018 performance.
Smith will look to build upon his latest win when he travels to Lake Tahoe, Calif., for the Tahoe 100K on Sept. 14. He will then return to Massachusetts and race the Stone Cat 50K in November and the Fells Winter Ultra 40-miler in December.
Smith’s closest competitor at Jay Peak – 28-year-old Andy Klem of Burlington, Vt., — finished in 6:43:14, followed closely by 44-year-old Simon Lincourt of Montreal, Quebec (6:44:36) and 54-year-old David Herr of Canaan, Vt. (6:46:06). Barry Howe, 33, of Lebanon, N.H., was the only other runner to break seven hours, finishing fifth in 6:57:13.
Lydia Heely, 21, of Medford, Mass., a middle distance runner at Tufts University, made her ultramarathon debut and brought home the win in the women’s field in 7:37:50. Rosalie Lipfert, 28, of Cornish, N.H., was the women’s runner-up in 8:49:48, followed by 32-year-old Lindsay Morrison of Salem, Mass., in 9:15:51.
Run the Rut
The three-day Run the Rut Trail Running Festival from Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Big Sky, Mont., had a strong New England presence among a few of its events. The festival features a 50K ultramarathon with 10,500 feet of climbing on highly technical trails, but before the ultra are two shorter – but still difficult – races, a Vertical K uphill-only race and a 28K.
David Sinclair, 27, of Peru, Vt., earned the victory in the 28K in 3:11, while former Bangor, Maine, resident Jeff Rome, 30, now a Coloradoan, won the Vertical K and placed third in the 20K. Rome followed up his first two races with a sixth-place finish in the 50K in 5:57:04.
While Rome didn’t win the 50K, 24-year-old Cody Lind of Challis, Id., did, clocking a winning time of 5:29:45. Erika Flowers, 29, of Bozeman, Mont., finished 19th overall and took top honors in the women’s field in 6:51:52.
Three New England residents were among the 414 runners to finish the 50K within 13 hours. Gary Pzegeo, 51, of Melrose, Mass., finished in 11:27:28; 40-year-old Jesse Phillips of Warren, Vt., finished in 11:35:07; and 48-year-old Tara Deeble of Melrose, Mass., finished in 11:45:42.
*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.